What will it take to woo Amazon to Maryland? Officials weigh in

WASHINGTON — While some of the 20 finalist-cities plan to offer substantial economic incentives to Amazon to gain its second headquarters, some people are pushing back against major tax breaks for the giant retailer.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has proposed as much as $5 billion to lure Amazon to set up shop in Montgomery County, part of what Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn described as a “blank check” for transportation improvements to win Amazon HQ2 and its estimated 50,000 high-paying jobs.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett, a Democrat, dismissed the idea of any blank check to gain Amazon.

“No, we’re going to do what is reasonable and what is in the best interest of Montgomery County,” Leggett said.

Maryland state Sen. Richard Madaleno, D-Montgomery County, who is running for governor, opposes Hogan’s $5 billion plan. The best way to attract Amazon would be to provide $1 billion to Maryland public universities to sharpen Amazon’s prospective labor force, Madaleno said.

“If I were governor at this moment, I would be offering Amazon incentives that were good for them but good for the community as a whole,” Madaleno said.

He added that Amazon is attracted to Montgomery County because of great public schools, infrastructure and amenities, and the state and county must be judicious with state resources in its bid to become Amazon’s second headquarters.

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