As some know, Amazon has been looking for its next headquarters location. It has narrowed its list down to twenty locations and one of them is in my own backyard in Montgomery County (though not literally in my backyard ;p ).
Our governor has pitched a five billion dollar incentive for Amazon to relocate to Maryland. $5B dollars is a lot of money. We don’t know many details yet but it is split into $3 billion in various tax breaks and $2 billion in infrastructure spending.
Infrastructure improvements are sorely needed, anyway. This money is coming from yours and my pockets. Could this money be better spent on just infrastructure? Like an extension of the MARC, Bus Rapid Transit, expanding and improving Metro?
We should be highly questioning this (cutely named) Promoting ext-Raordinary Innovation in Maryland’s Economy Act of 2018 (PRIME) legislation.
We need to examine various things here such as accountability. As we have seen with both Marriott and Discovery, they over-promised jobs and under-delivered on salaries. The numbers which have been floated for Amazon are 50,000 jobs making around or over $100K a year. If we provide this package, what guarantees do we have in place to make sure Amazon delivers on the jobs and salaries it has promised to us?
Another consideration is what will this do to the local economy and housing markets? For a county which has habitually struggled with affordable housing and the high cost of living, what will the influx of all these high earners do the local rental/housing markets? Will this force more people out of their homes and apartments since they will be unable to afford the soaring property taxes and rental increases?
While it is easy to say, yes, we want more jobs and we want to make sure they are good paying jobs, we need to look at everything to make sure we are making the right decision for our area. As far as I can tell, nobody has released any of this information.
Is this what’s best for Maryland and for Montgomery County? Annapolis needs to proceed with caution.