Minnesota’s failed bid for Amazon stays under wraps
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The state and regional economic development agencies that swung and missed at landing Amazon’s second headquarters in Minnesota still won’t release the details of their pitch, including the individual sites it touted and any local, taxpayer-backed incentives that were on the table.
Word came Thursday that the Twin Cities missed the cut as the Seattle-based tech giant announced a list of 20 finalists, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Denver and more. GreaterMSP — the regional economic development agency that worked on the bid in tandem with the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) — called it disappointing but helpful in their next quest to recruit new business to the state.
Minnesota was quick to join the rush for Amazon’s business in September when the company announced a nationwide search for its second hub, with the promise of up to 50,000 jobs. But while other states such as New Jersey trumpeted multibillion dollar incentive packages, Minnesota released few details about its proposal submitted in mid-October: In a letter to Amazon released that month, DEED commissioner Shawntera Hardy wrote that the state could offer between $3 million to $5 million in subsidies from a combination of existing state incentive programs.
The state rebuffed a Thursday request from The Associated Press to see the entire proposal, saying the agency did not have a copy of it. DEED handed off the final compilation and submission of the bid to GreaterMSP, potentially shielding the proposal from Minnesota’s open records laws.
“All of the information concerning the State of Minnesota’s role and offers of state incentives to Amazon have been publicly disclosed,” Hardy said in a statement. “The remainder of the bid materials, which are all in Greater MSP’s possession, are within their purview to disclose.”
But state law also makes clear that private entities — including GreaterMSP — are subject to the state’s open record law if they contract with the state to handle public data. GreaterMSP spokesman Mike Brown said the organization never signed a contract with DEED.
“There is no plan to release site-specific details of the response to Amazon. All financial details on the response have previously been disclosed,” Brown said Thursday.
But the economic development organization kept the door open to releasing more information on its proposal to Amazon. Brown said Friday that GreaterMSP was “reviewing the situation and understanding what our obligations are in this case.”