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January 07, 2018

With approval of bill, New Jersey could offer Amazon $3 billion in tax breaks

Amazon Taxes
10182017_AmazonCampusAerials Source/www.amazon.com

This aerial photo shows the campus of Amazon headquarters in Seattle. The online retailing giant is looking for a place to building its second headquarters, and Philadelphia hopes to get prime consideration.

A bill currently working its way through New Jersey legislature is promising a $3 billion tax break to Amazon if the online retail giant brings at least 30,000 jobs to the state.

According to WHYY, the official vote on the bill should occur Monday, Jan. 8. It was already approved by separate Assembly and Senate committees last Friday. 

Governer Chris Christie is expected to sign it into law, thus allowing the state Economic Development Authority to offer Amazon $10,000 in tax credits for every new job in New Jersey. This is double the amount the EDA can currently give, WHYY notes.

In the fight to land Amazon’s second headquarters, initiatives like this are not uncommon among contenders, though critics, including John Oliver, note how tax incentives can do more harm than good in trying to create jobs and jumpstart a region's economy. Other critics of such tax incentives argue those funds could be better invested in education, transit, or other services.

“It’s about jobs, jobs, jobs, and more jobs on top of that,” Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said to WHYY. 

“I’ve never been one of the biggest fans of tax incentives, but when we can have so many jobs in the state of New Jersey, it will be great.”

Though Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney shied away from discussing tax incentives in his formal reveal of the city’s Amazon proposal, some reports estimate the city will offer Amazon a $1 billion tax break.

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