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Pennsylvania shows it offered $4.6B to Amazon over 25 years

November 13, 2018

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Now that Pennsylvania has been unsuccessful in luring Amazon’s second headquarters, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration revealed Tuesday that it made an offer valued at up to $4.6 billion over 25 years in taxpayer-paid incentives to the online shopping giant.

Wolf’s office released copies of two letters it sent, one to Amazon’s office of economic development and one to Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos.

All told, the state proposed the creation of a performance-based grant program that it estimated would have delivered up to $4.5 billion to Amazon over 25 years. The program would have given the company an annual grant for up to 25 years, based on the amount of personal income tax collected annually from Amazon employees.

It also offered another $100 million for transportation improvements.

The letter to Bezos, dated Oct. 13, 2017, was also signed by top lawmakers, including House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, both Republicans.

Wolf’s administration said the grant program would have been accessible to other businesses, as well, and would have required legislative approval. Wolf’s administration earlier had refused requests to release records of financial incentives it offered Amazon, citing an ongoing, competitive process.

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh had been among the 20 finalists for a facility that Amazon had promised would bring 50,000 new jobs and construction spending topping $5 billion.

However, Amazon on Tuesday ended its 14-month competition for a second headquarters by selecting Long Island City, in New York City, and Arlington, Virginia, as the joint winners. Both are waterfront communities away from overcrowded business districts, giving Amazon space to grow.

Even before Wolf took office, Pennsylvania governors had long kept offers of financial incentives to businesses a secret, until after an offer is accepted.

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