The Amazon Deal is Shameful

I opposed Georgia trying to woo Amazon and I am delighted Amazon went elsewhere. Last night, Georgia’s officials released their deal and it would have been a $2 billion monstrosity of taxpayer largess and way too cute ideas like renaming a street after Alexa.

New York and Virginia were, instead, the losers who will burden their taxpayers with Amazon. The incentives include giving Amazon the right of notice about freedom of information act requests so Amazon can intervene in Virginia. In New York, the company will get a helipad.

The free market depends on a level, fair playing field. It does not work when governments redistribute taxpayer money to lure companies into states. Deals like this not only distort market forces, but they also keep states from overall reforming their business laws and regulatory structures by letting one company receive not just exceptions, but also taxpayer dollars.

Whether left, right, or center, we should all oppose these sorts of deals. Amazon is one of many. Too many states, from Georgia to New York, put existing local businesses at competitive disadvantages while redistributing local tax dollars to out of state businesses promising the moon.

The free market is not free when this happens and the government picking winners and losers does nothing more than whore out its taxpayers. Amazon did nothing wrong. It just went looking for a government prostitute. Unfortunately, too many politicians were willing to play the role.

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Erick Erickson

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