Chicago Officials Head To Seattle As Effort To Lure Amazon Launches

Pat Wise
September 19, 2017

Governor Rauner signed a law Monday that restores his power to give big tax breaks and other financial incentives to companies like amazon.

The online giant plans to invest $5 billion in the new site that will eventually house 50,000 employees - a revelation that has caused cities across the U.S.to engage in a charm offensive to lure the company in.

Amazon's growth has attracted billions of dollars from foreign interests into Seattle's development boom in recent years.

Rauner says a team of representatives from Chicago and IL are meeting with Amazon executives in Seattle Tuesday.

Gov. Rauner's not so sure, pointing as he often does to one that got away: General Electric's headquarters that went to Boston.

"I worked with the mayor to bring general electric here".

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Also a factor: Boston gave GE the biggest financial incentives in MA history, a reported $151 million for 800 jobs. And there are now reports GE may actually bring fewer jobs.

Rauner Monday reinstituted the Economic Development for a Growing Economy program, which offers tax credits to firms that add jobs in IL. "By placing your company or your office nearby, then you can take advantage of the fact that maybe they've gotten roots in the city, but are getting anxious to try something new". Amazon also asked that metropolitan areas submit consolidated bids, meaning areas with multiple interested sites - such as the four interested cities in the Dallas orbit - will end up coming together for a single proposal. "And we're doin' that", Rauner said.

"A 45-minute drive to an worldwide airport - which technically we do have - but there are certainly lots of other cities that have global airports that are more global and cover more places". We already have one Amazon facility here, and since Amazon already does business here, we might be an attractive choice for HQ2.

That number is significant because Amazon is promising that when completed, their HQ2 will provide job openings for nothing less than 50,000 employees, ten times what Google has in NY right now.

Several Canadian cities have thrown their hats into the ring to host "HQ2" and the 50,000 full-time jobs the company says can be expected over the next 15 years, with an average pay of more than $100,000 US annually.

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