ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York state's bids for Amazon's planned second headquarters include New York City and a joint bid between Buffalo and Rochester, with the promise of tens of thousands of white collar and high-paying jobs. It's the equivalent of a winning lottery ticket when it comes to economic development, and it's another example of New York looking toward tax credits to compete with other states to try and land major employers.
"I think we've done a lot in the last couple of years to make our incentive programs a little bit more targeted and a little more carefully structured to make sure that if the state does make an award, we get a good state return on investment," said Ken Pokalsky, vice president of the Business Council.
Michael Kink, executive director of Strong Economy For All, says the issue is corporate welfare.
"Any state would like them to come, but the idea that we're going to subsidize with taxpayer money one of the most profitable corporations in the history of capitalism is ridiculous," Kink said. "It's absolutely a race to the bottom and taxpayers wallets are at risk. We've spent billions of dollars on economic development in New York and the payoffs are few and far between."
The state does have the ability to revoke tax benefits from companies that don't meet job growth targets, and a tax credit is only one factor in whether a company will open up shop in a given area.
"You need to have the right mix of land, workforce, access to markets, whatever that company needs to make that business investment work," Pokasky said.
In Amazon's case, New York already is already providing millions for the company's office expansion in Manhattan and a distribution center on Staten Island.