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Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), joined by Gov. Chris Christie, speaks at the announcement Mondayof Newark's bid for Amazon's new HQ. (AP's Seth Wenig)

Cities' bids are due tomorrow for the "HQ2" that Amazon plans to supplement its Seattle headquarters, with the prospect of $5 billion in investments and 50,000 jobs. Mayors from Toledo to Tulsa are brandishing bourbon, selling the sun — and making expensive promises that are uncertain to pay off.

AP talked to leaders of more than 50 cities or metropolitan regions about the different ways they're showcasing themselves, and assessed the risk/reward:

  • "The winning city would have to provide Amazon with generous tax breaks and other incentives that can erode a city's tax base. Most economists say [it's probably worth it] — that an Amazon headquarters is a rare case in which a package of at least modest enticements could repay a city over time."
  • "That's particularly true compared with other projects that often receive public financial aid, from sports stadiums to the Olympics to manufacturing plants, which generally return lesser, if any, benefits over the long run. "
  • Enrico Moretti, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley and author of "The New Geography of Jobs": "This definitely beats other deals that I have seen."
  • Why it matters: "High-tech firms like Amazon create a 'clustering effect,' Moretti's research has found, whereby a company attracts workers with specialized knowledge in, say, software and data analysis. These workers are rare in other cities but reach a critical mass in a tech hub. And higher-skilled workers are more productive when they work in proximity to each other, sharing ideas and experiences."

Go deeper

Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220 to 212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans plan to exact pain before COVID relief vote

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republicans are demanding a full, 600-page bill reading — and painful, multi-hour "vote-a-rama" — as Democrats forge ahead with their plan to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: The procedural war is aimed at forcing Democrats to defend several parts the GOP considers unnecessary and partisan. While the process won't substantially impact the final version of the mammoth bill, it'll provide plenty of ammunition for future campaign messaging.

The new grifters: outrage profiteers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Republicans lost the Senate and narrowly missed retaking the House, millions of dollars in grassroots donations were diverted to a handful of 2020 congressional campaigns challenging high-profile Democrats that, realistically, were never going to succeed.

Why it matters: Call it the outrage-industrial complex. Slick fundraising consultants market candidates contesting some of their party’s most reviled opponents. Well-meaning donors pour money into dead-end campaigns instead of competitive contests. The only winner is the consultants.