The Virginia House of Delegates on Monday approved $750 million in taxpayer handouts to Amazon — the world’s 4th wealthiest company by market cap.
And according to The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam (D) now has the bill on his desk and plans to sign it into law.
To be clear, the $750 million in handouts won’t come all at once, but will be staggered out over a 15-year period, averaging out to roughly $50 million/year every year. The Daily Progress reports that the Commonwealth of Virginia will pay roughly $22,000 for every new job Amazon brings to the state for the first 25,000 jobs. After that, the commonwealth will pay $15,564 for each new job up to another 12,850 jobs. The jobs must pay an average of $150,000/year to qualify for the handouts.
However, the fact that Amazon is getting so much in taxpayer dollars from the commonwealth could be seen as a snub to the commonwealth’s small business owners. At the end of Fiscal Year 2017, the Virginia Small Business Development Authority — the agency charged with helping small business owners in the commonwealth — had just $53.3 million in net assets, nearly equaling the total amount of annual handouts Amazon is getting over the next 15 years.
As the Daily Progress pointed out, lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House of Delegates only debated the package of Amazon handouts for nine minutes. Delegate Alfonso Lopez, whose district includes parts of Northern Virginia in the proximity of where Amazon will be building its new corporate headquarters, said the area may soon become too expensive for his constituents.
“Folks are worried that they and the other low-income families are going to be priced out of the area’s home-owning and rental markets,” Delegate Lopez said. “I’m concerned about the impact on my community and our residents now, not on the benefits that we might see in 5, 7 and 10 years.”
Ironically, the vote to give Amazon $750 million happened the same day more than 3,000 teachers descended onto the state capitol in Richmond to demand better pay, more education funding, and smaller class sizes.
— Sara McCloskey (@Sara8News) January 28, 2019
Amazon, which is the world’s 4th wealthiest company by market cap behind Apple, Google, and Microsoft, recently selected Crystal City, Virginia (near Washington, DC, where Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has a mansion with 25 bathrooms) as one of its two new locations for its second corporate headquarters. Long Island City in Queens, New York is hosting the other new headquarters.
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.