Home Op-Ed Let the Amazon debate begin

Let the Amazon debate begin

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Let the Amazon debate begin
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Good afternoon,

Expect some spirited discussions at the water cooler or breakroom over Amazon seeking a $4.5 million strategic grant from the state of Delaware.

As news of the request broke this morning, opponents were quick to criticize giving any assistance for the giant company.

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As noted in the story above,  Amazon wants to build a fulfillment center on a portion of the former GM Boxwood plant site west of Wilmington.

Amazon has drawn fire from both the left and right for seeking what critics describe as “corporate welfare.”

The left says Amazon creates lower-wage non-union jobs with high burnout rates. Opposition in New York City led to Amazon altering plans for the H2Q project that would have brought six-figure jobs to that area. Delaware also put in a long-shot bid.

The right is not happy with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owning the Washington Post, a newspaper-website that has gotten under the skin of the current administration.

Amazon drew little opposition the last time around when it sought $3.4 million for a $90 million fulfillment center in Middletown.

But the landscape has changed since 2011  as Amazon grew into a behemoth with its tentacles reaching into everything from pills to groceries (Whole Foods) and computer services.

Bezos has also become a polarizing figure, given his vast wealth and the disruptive presence of Amazon in all areas of retailing.

The strategic grant is based on the principle that once you add in the economic stimulus from construction jobs and income taxes paid by employees, the payback is fairly rapid. If the company does not reach the stated goals, the grant is reduced or eliminated.

Unlike Fisker, which planned to assemble cars at Boxwood, Amazon offers minimal risks to the state.  Its multistory site will occupy only a portion of Boxwood, allowing other tenants to locate to the area. 

The Carney Administration will keep things low key but has little choice but to offer a package. Amazon has options and could go to New Jersey or Pennsylvania, two states that might give it an even sweeter deal.

 Moreover, Delaware still needs jobs that do not require a college degree and yes Amazon does provide education options for workers.

Is another Amazon center a good or bad idea?  Let us know. Simply hit reply and type away.

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