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A better way to lure big businesses? Invest in future, don’t bite on Amazon’s “farce”

Sep 11, 2017

Amazon plans to build another headquarters in North America. It's dropped a request for proposals, an RFP. That means the competition has begun – cities and states will be tripping over one another, trying to land this prize.

But Richard Shearer, a senior research associate and senior project manager with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, argues there’s a very good chance Amazon already knows where it wants to build this second headquarters, and that this is basically a faux competition.

His piece on the Brookings blog is titled, “Amazon’s red herring.”

“This is a very thoughtful, very competitive company that thinks years ahead,” Shearer said, “And so, to think that they don’t already have a very good idea of where they’d like to end up is kind of a farce.”

“So my feeling is that they’ve set up this competition as a way to invite very generous bids where they can get some economic development tax incentives out of states and localities as a way of offsetting the costs of an expansion project,” he said.

The second part of the red herring, Shearer said, is that this competition will become “a huge distraction” to many cities and states.

Listen above to hear Shearer describe what he thinks would be a smarter, better approach to winning big business development.

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