Fund affordable housing, schools, and transit.
Not Amazon.

Let’s Prioritize Communities, Not the World’s Richest Man

Elected leaders in Northern Virginia are rushing to give away an unknown amount of taxpayer money to the world’s richest man and one of the world’s wealthiest companies in an effort to bring Amazon’s “HQ2” here.

Our state and local governments have signed non-disclosure agreements with Amazon, preventing residents from even knowing what is being offered with their tax dollars.

In a region with little affordable housing, where housing is already more expensive than major tech hubs like Austin, TX, our leaders are clamoring to bring in up to 50,000 new, likely affluent residents, without any conversation about the impact on longtime residents. And these longtime residents aren’t even allowed to know what’s being offered!

Our public money could be used to fund our housing, our schools, our transit, and our own communities. Virginia leaders should end their participation in this race to the bottom and release the full details of the Amazon bid including the subsidies offered.

What could we do with $1 billion?

The governor and local leaders have blocked us from knowing how much money Virginia is offering to funnel to Amazon, but we do know what other cities have offered. Washington DC and Atlanta have offered as much as $1 billion. Chicago has offered $2 billion. Newark has offered as much as $7 billion in tax credits.1

What could we do with $1 billion instead of giving it away to the world’s richest man?

FUND HOUSING

We could meet the housing needs of our lowest-income residents

END CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS

We could end homelessness.

FUND SCHOOLS

We could modernize NoVa’s public schools.

PUBLIC TRANSIT

We could fully fund public transit for years.

END MASS INCARCERATION

We could expand on our programs to stop mass incarceration by treating violence as a public health issue.

FOOD EQUALITY

We could close our grocery gap and increase access to healthy, affordable food for all our residents.

FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

We could fight climate change.

UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE

We could ensure quality mental and physical healthcare for all.

INCOME EQUALITY

We could address income inequality by guaranteeing living wages, basic incomes, and benefits like Paid Family Leave.

Amazon and Jeff Bezos don’t need our money

Jeff Bezos is the wealthiest man in the world, worth more than $120 billion dollars. He personally has more money than the individual GDPs of two thirds of the countries in the world. He has more than twice the money than what’s in the Virginia annual budget. Amazon is worth more than $500 billion dollars. It captures 44% of all online sales. It turned a profit of $5.6 Billion dollars in the US last year and avoided paying a single dollar in federal tax. Why should we give them even more?

What are we giving away to one of the world’s richest companies?

We don’t know!

Virginia officials have offered the public no details on any proposed Amazon subsidies. The people who will actually be affected by the cost of living increases and diverted public funds aren’t even allowed to know what we’ll be giving up. Requests for details by concerned Virginians under the Freedom of Information Act are being ignored. If this is supposedly a good investment for Virginia, why aren’t its residents trusted to be a part of the process?

What we do know is that other cities competing to woo Amazon are offering the company huge tax subsidies, with some as high as multiple billions of dollars.

A broad array of research shows these tax subsidy packages are wasteful and don’t deliver. A study of megadeals found that cities pay nearly $500,000 per job created.2

What would Amazon do to Northern Virginia?

What would it look like when up to 50,000 people move to our city for Amazon? We can take a look at Seattle. Home to the ever-growing Amazon, rents have gone up 40% in the last four years.3  The Seattle area has also seen an explosion in homelessness, a 47% increase in from 2007, and now has the third-largest homeless population in the country. The city places in the top 10 for worst transportation congestion.4  Seattle has led the nation in home price increases for 13 months and home prices are up 15.1% this past year to $725,000.5  This means even Amazon employees are priced out of Seattle—it has become a city for the rich.

We already have a housing affordability crisis, overburdened transit systems, and a traffic congestion problem. Communities of color are already being pushed out. How would Amazon impact these disparities?

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