Illinois’ Amazon HQ2 offer up to $2.25B in incentives

Illinois’ Amazon HQ2 offer up to $2.25B in incentives

The state’s combined incentives package will reportedly include $1.4 billion in EDGE tax credits, $450 million in improvements, $250 million in new education and workforce programs, and more.

Illinois’ bid for Amazon’s second North American headquarters is now up to $2.25 billion in state, county and local incentives, and possibly even more if Amazon picks certain locations in Chicago.

The incentives package includes $1.4 billion worth of state tax credits under the Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, program, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Sun-Times also listed the following tax breaks and incentives Amazon would be eligible for: $60 million worth of county and city property tax breaks through the Class 7B and 7C programs; $450 million in site infrastructure improvements from state and local transportation agencies; $250 million invested in so-called “Neighborhood Opportunity Funds,” as well as education and workforce development; and free land worth $100 million if Amazon uses the Michael Reese Hospital, with even more on the table if Amazon bulldozes or renovates the Thompson Center.

And although there is an incentive to pick either the Thompson Center or the Michael Reese Hospital, the offer includes 10 locations around Chicago.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle have reportedly worked together to hatch the deal.

But despite the massive size of Illinois’ combined incentives package, other states are offering more. New Jersey has offered Amazon an incentives package worth an estimated $7 billion.

Amazon’s second North American headquarters, called HQ2, is expected to bring 50,000 new full-time jobs and up to $5 billion of area investment. Amazon has reportedly received 238 bids from across the country for its coveted HQ2 facility, according to Reuters.

Amazon is expected to make a decision at some point in 2018.

Illinois should not pin all its hopes on landing a single, messianic deal with a multibillion-dollar internet retailer. Illinois needs organic economic development from the bottom up, with real pro-growth reforms to address the ways in which Illinois is uncompetitive for growing and attracting jobs and residents.

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