Minnesota Lowballs Amazon HQ Bid

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota’ bid for Amazon’s second headquarters aims to bring the 50,000 job project to the state without adding any additional incentives over what is normally available to incoming companies.

The Pioneer Press reports that Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration plans on focusing its time on highlighting Minnesota’s existing aspects of the state’s culture and infrastructure related to business issues. This will include Minnesota’s education system, workforce, and public transportation system. The state’s bid was submitted to Amazon on Wednesday.

Amazon reportedly has identified a number of those highlighted issues as key factors in their decision making process.

Emails obtained by the Associated Press give some insight into the decision making process in the governor’s office.

Notably, Deputy Chief of Staff Linden Zakula wanted to use the Amazon bid as a weapon in the ongoing dispute between Dayton and legislative Republicans. Zakula suggested tying increased money for bid incentives to the repeal of tax breaks for tobacco companies passed by the legislature this past session.

“If we feel that we need additional $ to be competitive, we should make an issue of it,” Zakula wrote in an email, according to the Pioneer Press. “Make them choose their tax breaks for tobacco over 50,000 jobs from Amazon.”

The constitutionality of Dayton’s line item veto of the entirety of the legislature’s funding for the next biennium is still under review by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Dayton’s administration decided not to pursue Zakula’s suggested line of action, according to the Pioneer Press. Minnesota’s bid operates under the normal cap of $3 on major incentive programs. There have also been concerns within the administration about how the state’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters might be perceived by existing in-state retailers. Target and Best Buy have reportedly been of particular concern to Dayton.

Anders Koskinen