(New York Times) Amazon built a retail empire on low prices and free shipping. But for taxpayers, its new headquarters didn’t come cheap.
New York and Virginia collectively offered more than $2 billion in tax credits, rebates and other incentives to attract the company. That figure doesn’t include what could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure spending, worker training and other government assistance.
Economists have long criticized tax incentives as inefficient and unnecessary, arguing that they pit cities or states against each other and leave less money for education and public works that ultimately do more to lift local economies and improve livelihoods. Research has shown that incentives play at most a small role in corporate decisions, meaning governments often end up paying businesses to do what they would have done anyway.
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