Local governments won’t say what they’re offering Amazon

Business
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PHILADELPHIA (AP/KXAN) — Many state and local governments competing for Amazon’s second headquarters are refusing to disclose the tax breaks or other financial incentives they are offering the online giant.

More than 15 states and cities, including Chicago, Cleveland and Las Vegas, have turned down requests from The Associated Press to detail the promises they’ve made. Many of them say they don’t want their competitors to know what they’re offering.

Austin is one of several cities in Texas vying for this opportunity. The city’s chief financial officer said in October that the city’s bid to Amazon did not include an incentive package on behalf of the city; however, that doesn’t mean the city can’t offer one in the future.

Public records laws vary, but governments that are courting businesses generally aren’t required to disclose tax breaks and other incentives during the negotiating phase.

Open-government advocates want to see the details. They argue that Amazon is a special case, in part because of the large amount of taxpayer money at stake.

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