"For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light."
A new development:
Austin and Dallas are among 20 North American metropolitan areas being considered for a second headquarters for Amazon, the online retail giant announced Thursday morning.Cool...you guys want to share any of that information with the public?!? Or are we just supposed to glean tidbits here and there from open records requests?!?
The cities were among several in Texas that had been competing to lure the company. Competition has been fierce, since Amazon says it plans to invest $5 billion in its new headquarters and create "as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs" in the city it picks.
Thursday's list eliminates two major Texas cities — Houston and El Paso — that were also vying for the spot. Despite initial plans to do so, San Antonio did not submit a bid to host the company's second headquarters. City officials told Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in October that "blindly giving away the farm isn't our style."
In a brief statement Thursday morning, Austin Mayor Steve Adler recognized that "mobility and affordability" are among the city's greatest challenges in attracting businesses like Amazon, and said the city council is focused on addressing those two concerns.
Cities across North America have offered major economic incentives in attempts to lure Amazon, including tax breaks and land. And while some cities have publicly offered up their proposals to the tech giant — New Jersey, for example, has pledged up to $7 billion in tax incentives, and Chicago officials offered Amazon credits totaling about $1.32 billion in income taxes — Texas cities have stayed quieter about what they're willing to put on the table.
Austin city officials said in October that no local financial incentives were included in their bid for the headquarters. Adler said Thursday he still has not heard any talk about offering local incentives.
Mike Berman, spokesman for the Austin Chamber of Commerce, called the bid a "great success" but wouldn't offer details on any specific sites that the city proposed.
Bottom Line: We remain neutral on this project pending the receipt of more information. That being said, the fact that we've been discussing an Amazon bid for three months without more information being forthcoming is very frustrating. At a minimum, the optics surrounding this secretive process continue to stink....