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BPDA approves up to $10 million in tax breaks for Amazon buildings in the Seaport

WBUR reports the BPDA yesterday approved two measures to reduce taxes on two potential buildings in the Seaport Square complex - a $5-million break on a 17-story tower that would be filled mostly with Amazon offices and a second $5-million tax reduction on a second building next door that might be built for Amazon.

In exchange, Amazon would agree to hire at least 2,000 workers to fill the first building and then another 2,000 for the second.

The buildings would let Amazon expand its existing R&D efforts in the Boston area and are unconnected with its efforts to win far larger tax breaks and benefits in exchange for a proposed second headquarters. Amazon says its proposed HQ2 would mean 50,000 new workers for whichever city it picks.

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Who thinks this is an honest to goodness idea other than the BPDA?

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I should just storify all my amazon tweets for here. Because I've posted post after post about how much money amazon makes and has.

WHY DO THEY NEED A TAX BREAK IF BEZOS IS THE RICHEST MAN IN AMERICA?!?!?

oh right because BPDA lap logs want to kiss his ass.

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You don't become the richest man in the world by paying full price.

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It's about Boston attracting top flight companies to the city. The benefits will outweigh the costs.

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unless you just disagreeing to disagree.

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I love to use Fidelity as the example.

Many years ago, Fidelity got huge tax breaks to open a call center here and move a good portion of their operations here.

As soon as the tax breaks ran out and they weren't going to be renewed.. Fidelity quickly moved operations to Nashua.

Yeah tax breaks just don't work.

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Big companies don't spend their tax savings locally. You would stimulate the economy better if you handed $10 to every person as they left the Pine Street Inn every morning. That money would be spent within ten minutes in a local business. Even if the money was spent under the table it would circulate in the local community.

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Wanted much more than a renewal of tax breaks. They basically wanted Marlborough to foot the bill for a new campus.

Then there's the issue of suburban office parks becoming much less attractive, which they tried to leverage.

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premature, don't you think?

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I mean, that should be sufficient per your argument, right?

Oh wait...

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And I'll say it again.

It's about Boston attracting top flight companies to the city. The benefits will outweigh the costs.

If Boston is so great, companies should come here because we're so great. Not because we give them tax breaks.

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It's simple supply vs demand. The supply of major companies is a lot smaller than the supply of cities in America. Having great companies in your city is better than not having great companies in your city. There's a cost vs benefit analysis that usually bears this out.

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The Washington Post (owned by Amazon's CEO) published a great, detailed article about how attractive various cities are to Amazon and other large companies. Boston was close to the top for most categories.

The gist of the article is that the tax breaks don't matter as much as other factors, such as an educated workforce. The lost tax revenue going to non-profit schools has benefits.

TD;DR - Boston is awesome because of all the highly ranked schools and R&D. It's pretty foolish for Boston to offer tax breaks when that might not even be the most important factor. The money would be better spent improving places Boston is lacking such as "Growth in young firms". (It's better to give tax breaks to start-ups, not big companies.)

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that Amazon HQ2 will go to a state with legal recreational pot, and only a state with legal recreational pot.

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So Boston should do nothing to attract top tier companies? Because those companies will just choose Boston over everywhere else right?

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Owned by top men.

TOP MEN!

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We are better off investing in services and infrastructure that attract people to spend money on businesses. Invest in transit and be willing to build out transit for special projects.

If the business can't be profitable while paying their fair share of taxes, then why is it a good business? All businesses will pay less taxes if we stop giving select companies a free ride

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I'd argue 10 million in infrastructure investment, education spending, and the like would bring in just as many smaller to medium businesses.

AND they'd pay the taxes. Cause Boston is a damn attractive economic hub.

Like spending in a recession, you give away tax breaks when you're the ugly sister in the neighborhood. Not when people are climbing over each other to set up shop.

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Infrastructure is the real trickle down economy boost!

Good infrastructure will benefit everyone eventually. Payoffs to corporations don't work.

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Millions in Tax breaks for Amazon a multi billion dollar are you fucking kidding me..

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Does Amazon really need a tax break??

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It is unfair to existing taxpaying businesses.

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People that don’t pay taxes.

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How do you confuse a tax break for building 2 buildings with not paying taxes? Are you 12?

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I'm sorry you can not infer that I meant not paying their fair share of taxes.

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Question: What's the difference between 20 companies each employing 200 people and one company employing 4,000?

Answer: One gets a tax cut and sends most revenue to out of state shareholders. The other makes for a dynamic city and keeps more money local.

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Would any tax still be paid on those buildings?

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Yes. Seaport is a hot spot. Esp on a building selling for 20mil or more.

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My quick math agrees with @cyber.

If the building is getting a $5 Million tax abatement over 15 years, that's $333333.33 a year. Which at $25.20 per $1000 in value that means the abatement is for $1.32 Mil in value.

I took a quick peek around for a comp, the City thinks that 50 Northern Ave (where Vertex is) is worth $30Mil and based on that number this amounts to a 5% tax break.

If amazon in deed does put 2000 NEW employees in that building for 15 years, that's an incentive of $166.66 per employee per year.

But this is just quick guessing.

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Kind of jibes with what I thought which is 1) I hate corporate welfare but 2) this isn't a total free ride in the larger scale of things.

This isn't a boondoggle like the Olympics or something like the Cobb County baseball stadium project in terms of cost to the taxpayer v. benefit to the city.

I would really like to see any corporate welfare done on a regional or state level. Many of these theoretical new workers will live in Newton, Milton, Cambridge, etc... helping to keep those towns real estate tax income sky high and yet without having to pay anything to keep the gravy train flowing.

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$5 million for 2000 jobs is $2,500 per job. That sounds reasonable, if ti works they way they say it will.

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Small businesses, resulting partially in the destruction of local retail and accompanying civic life.

Even the playing field instead of catering to the already rich. Didn’t Marty claim he was going to be for the little guy? Yeah right...

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They initially put up the headline "Amazon tax breaks for Seaport building approved," then after the article elicited several comments critical of corporate welfare, somebody at the Globe hastily changed the title to "A look at Amazon’s proposed Seaport building."

Needless to say, the content and article description remained the same (i.e. not offering any "look at Amazon's proposed Seaport building").

As things stands now, the headline and subhead look like this:

A look at Amazon’s proposed Seaport building
A city board approved the incentives if Amazon creates 2,000 jobs by 2025 and leases most or all of a new office building planned at Seaport Square.

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This hurts my soul, considering the City of Boston rejected my abatement application, despite having my home professionally appraised for over $100,000 less than what the City assessed it at. Glad Amazon is getting a much needed tax break while the rest of us have to pick up the slack.

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This is why tax breaks are bad. Big corporations get huge breaks.. little guys get screwed.

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Ok this makes me feel guilty. I am certainly a "little guy" when compared to Amazon, but I should also add, I can afford to pay too much in taxes, because thankfully I am well compensated (though not due to being employed by a company that received tax incentives to stay in Boston). But I don't feel I *should* have to pay based on an assessment that is grossly overvalued by everyone's calculation except for the city's. And it will be an expensive legal battle to attempt to correct. However, at the end of the day, the city can reject my application based on their "feeling" that my property is properly valued. I can provide all the experts and evidence in the world, and they can still rule against me without presenting any evidence at all.

This is the way government runs. All the benefits to Amazon, and nothing to the people who work for Amazon. Good thing they will get such great jobs. They will need them to afford their rent or property taxes.

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It's cool, Boston didn't need that 10 million for anything. . . oh wait.

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Add this to the many new projects approved with really zero forward-looking transportation plan. How about put the money toward public/bicycle transportation for each employee that uses said transportation? Heck, give each employee a T-pass or bicycle...

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Can we put the BPDA in charge of the MBTA? Where's Eminem? Ice Cube? I see a good rhyme beat with this. TRANSPORTATION IN BEANTOWN IS A TRANSPORTATION BEATDOWN!!

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Stick to garbage anonymous internet posting.
Eminem maybe...Ice Cube would never kick such whack-ass rhymes...SMH

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On yet another excursion to Silicon Valley where, once again, if I bring up the subject of any major tech or tech based company having an HQ here, I get looked at like I have three heads and then the snickering begins....

"Why would anyone put money into that racist shithole where, the last I looked they still use gas for streetlights?" was the most caustic of the many responses I got....

Make of it what you will.

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They are Asia Pacific focused and never cross the uncrossable evil middle of the country.

Do any of these Techbros actually work with any nonwhite people? Other than to treat them as disposable office cleaners?

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There are a multitude of people of color in SV in various positions. You can stow that HBO crap. If anything, women are less represented at high levels.

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But Amazon got where it is by doing things differently.

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They literally have an app to keep track of human excrement hot spots due to their homeless / housing problem. Entire blocks of silicon-villes.

Liberals shouldn't cast stones in glass houses. Still plenty of work to be done.

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Where?

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1. BPDA will grant this break to show Amazon that Boston can play ball when it comes to HQ2.
2. Amazon will build two buildings in the Seaport, then have the other HQ2 cities bid against the BPDA's tax break.
3. Amazon will build HQ2 in a more desperate city.

But hey, after spending 20 years methodically putting almost every bookstore chain in America out of business, Amazon is now opening Amazon-branded bookstores. Maybe we'll be lucky enough to get one of those.

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Amazon bookstore already at Dedham Legacy Place.

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