Jan 4, 2020

WSJ: New York first proposed a larger tax incentive for Amazon's HQ2

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The initial offer for Amazon's now-canceled New York City HQ2 included $800 million more in tax credits and grants than its final $3 billion offer, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: Amazon is moving to New York City without the much-publicized HQ2 package. The company said in December it signed a new lease for 335,000 square feet in the city's Hudson Yards neighborhood.

What they're saying: A New York Empire State Development (ESD) official told the WSJ on Friday "that the initial offer was higher to reflect the original, larger scope of HQ2 and to draw Amazon to the negotiating table."

  • "The workforce incentives were designed with upstate areas in mind, the official said, and to help disadvantaged populations," the WSJ reports.

Details: New York state’s larger offer to Amazon — as part of the nationwide 2017 HQ2 competition — included $1.1 billion in grants and "$1.4 billion of tax credits based on the number of employees hired," per WSJ.

  • The initial offer, made in Oct. 2017, marked hundreds of millions of dollars more than what the ESD proposed a year later, per its memorandum of understanding.

Go deeper: Big Tech continues real estate spree in New York

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Company tax incentives don't spur economic growth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than two years after Amazon announced its search for a second headquarters and cities around the U.S. bent over backwards to offer the megacompany as much free cash and incentives as they could, new research confirms what economists have been saying for years: Such programs are a waste of money.

Driving the news: A paper from researchers at Princeton and Columbia Business School found "no evidence" that business tax incentives given to individual companies increased broader economic growth at the state and local level.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020

Amazon announces big earnings beat

Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Amazon announced strong quarterly results Thursday after the market close, with $6.47 earnings per share on an expected $4.04 (per FactSet) and total revenue of $87.44 billion on $86.02 billion expected.

Why it matters: Wall Street has wondered whether Amazon's huge investments in one-day delivery and cloud services would depress its financial performance. This quarter, at least, gave investors a positive surprise.

Amazon wants Fire TV in more cars and devices

Amazon Fire TV products. Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Image

Amazon made a series of moves at CES in Las Vegas, most notably announcing deals to get its Fire TV software built into more televisions, soundbars and even the back seats of cars.

Why it matters: In tech, it pays to control the operating system. Amazon found itself on the outside looking in when it came to smartphones, and wants to maintain a strong position in smart TVs, speakers and other emerging consumer devices.

Go deeperArrowJan 6, 2020