WRAL: NC won’t be the highest bidder for Amazon HQ2, per Gov. Cooper

Amazon announced today its 20 finalists for its second headquarters, and Raleigh is on the list. Supposedly this is a Very Good Thing, so long as you try never to consider the enormous amount of incentives and concessions Amazon wants from its government bidders.

Donald Bryson, the new president of Civitas, considers it. Shortly following the announcement, he published a response helpfully titled “Raleigh and N.C. honored with chance to bribe Amazon.”

This brought a response from WRAL’s Capitol Bureau on Twitter. It contained the following tidbit:

Tried to get @RoyCooperNC on record this morning as to whether Amazon incentives would be more / less / similar to $1.5 billion offered Toyota Mazda. Wouldn’t get specific, but said our offer won’t be largest Amazon gets.

It’s mildly encouraging news. How good it actually is depends upon how far from Biggest Sucker at the Table we are asked to be.

I reiterate what an honest case the governor, Commerce officials, and civic boosters could make to Amazon that would represent our best case without setting us up for fierce buyer’s remorse:

[T]he simple truth — and the good news — is that North Carolina doesn’t need to debase itself chasing after Amazon.

North Carolina is a national model for growing the economy the right way.

Over the past four years, North Carolina’s leaders have cut taxes, spending, and red tape. Those are empirically backed policies, so it’s no wonder that as the state has lowered the cost of doing business here in general, we’ve seen greater growth, jobs, and investment.

It has worked so well that now North Carolina is considered a national model for tax reform.

Those reforms work like economic incentives, but not at the expense of the rest of the taxpayers, existing businesses, and job seekers. So it’s not a shell game.

Cutting taxes and red tape for all is an all-comers incentive. It’s good for untold numbers of business ventures, jobs, and investment across the state. It’s good for large corporations like Amazon, but more important, it’s good for the little guys, too. And they’re the ones carrying the freight, even if no one notices. …

A new Amazon headquarters in North Carolina would be welcome and wonderful in the abstract. It would be great if Amazon were to choose this state on all its merits save one. That one, however, seems to be the one that matters most to Amazon: how malleable its political class is to corporate pressure for government goodies.

In that case, no thanks.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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