Amazon has won a record amount of tax breaks this year as local officials try to lure the online shopping giant to expand its one-day or same-day delivery networks in their areas.
The company also referred to statements from the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) describing Amazon as its top “investment hero.” Like several other large companies, Amazon is a donor to PPI. The think tank would not disclose how much it had received from the company but said its research was based on “published financial data and [used] a clearly-documented methodology.”
Including breaks relating to corporate offices, Whole Foods grocery stores, Zappos warehouses, the company’s movie and television productions, and even a fashion studio in New York City, Amazon has received “at least” $4.1 billion in incentives since 2000, Good Jobs First has calculated. Secrecy makes a precise tally difficult.
The e-commerce giant is aggressively adding warehouses as it seeks to cut delivery times in more markets across the US. The company’s capital expenditure has rocketed from $16.8 billion in 2019 to $40.1 billion in 2020. As of the end of this year’s second quarter, Amazon said capex had reached $26.4 billion.
Meanwhile, the company has petitioned local officials for incentives, often via third-party development companies.
The county’s economic development agency was split on whether Amazon’s threat was credible. “We’ve got a metro area population of a million,” said board member Jay Popli. “It’s not New York City, but it is sizable. I didn’t feel they were going to ignore this market.”
Amazon declined to comment on the deal in Monroe County. “You can go to a ribbon-cutting ceremony and say: ‘I did bring Amazon here,’” he said.
But that perception may change as more local opposition—often focused on Amazon’s workplace safety record—begins to emerge.