While Cities Offered Amazon Life and Limb, Fresno Proposed Something Radically Different

There are now an estimated 304 million Amazon users worldwide. Today, more people subscribe to Amazon Prime than attend church on Sunday. In fact, there’s a good chance you have an Amazon tab open on your computer right now. No wonder some people fear Amazon is taking over the world. And with the contest for HQ2 in full swing, some fear the company has already taken over city halls.

Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat expressed those fears in a piece Friday. He worries that too many cities are ceding all ground to the retail giant in the hopes of landing its second headquarters.

“There’s a new wave, in which some City Halls seem willing to go beyond just throwing money at Amazon,” he writes. In doing so, they aren’t just giving away money. “They’re turning over the keys to the democracy.”

One notable example he offers: the City of Fresno. It offered no tax incentives to the company whatsoever. Instead, it proposes the establishment of a unique community fund made up of a percentage of taxes and fees paid for by Amazon. Together, the company and the city would determine how to spend that money with the mutual goal of ensuring a robust community around HQ2.

In this scenario, Fresno believes Amazon is being treated as a partner rather than a leviathan. 

What do you think?

Read the letter that Fresno Mayor Lee Brand sent Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos here


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