Progress Virginia Calls On Leaders To Be Transparent On Amazon Incentives

Will Amazon pay its fair share or will our families be stuck with the tab?

Richmond, VA – As rumors swirl that Amazon will be announcing Arlington’s Crystal City as one half of its new North American headquarters, community advocates are speaking up to demand elected officials fully disclose the terms of the incentive package offered to the company. States and localities often treat economic development like an arms race, trying to one-up each other in the competition to win good paying jobs. Virginia’s incentive package to Amazon has yet to be disclosed.

“Thousands of new high-paying jobs could be a boon to our community, but we deserve to know the cost,” said Progress Virginia executive director Anna Scholl. “Tens of thousands of new workers and their families are sure to strain community resources when it comes to affordable housing, mass transit and traffic, and quality local schools. It’s only right that Amazon pay their fair share. Our leaders must disclose the terms of the deal they made so we can all be sure this new headquarters is a good deal for all of us, not just the corporation.”

A 2018 OxFam report found Virginia to be the worst state for workers in the country, due to a lack of workplace protections, labor rights, and the ratio of the state’s minimum wage to its living wage. The stress a new influx of workers from Amazon could put on housing, schools, and transportation networks is likely to impact low-income families first—families without the resources to move or the protections at work to call out when traffic makes them late or a child gets sick.

“We hope Amazon will be a good community member and pay their fair share in taxes so our families and small businesses aren’t stuck with the tab,” said Scholl. “Our elected officials should immediately disclose the terms of this deal so we can be sure that it really is a good deal for everyone.”