Arlington County with accord of its board members approved incentives worth $23 million for Amazon to establish its new headquarters in Virginia.
The board unanimously approved the rebates with 5-0 vote to give Amazon pay-per-performance allowances, totaling about $23 million over the span of 15 years. Amazon decided to build their new headquarters in Virginia after cancelling in Long Island, New York. With the opposition of various leaders and activists in New York, the 25–year-old company decided to continue development in Crystal City.
The vote was approved following Amazon’s claim of providing thousands of jobs. Arlington County also claimed that the incentives have been provided as they would boost the economy and development of the county and the state.
More than 100 people were in the vicinity during the vote. The protestors claimed that Amazon provides an invisible support to ICE’s immigration policies. They also stated that the multi-trillion dollar company has no need for incentives and will negatively impact Lower-Income Residents and public services.
Allegedly, the protestors also accused the board of not providing support to those who are in dire need and instead chose elite companies that do not need such support.
Supporters of the grant claim that the investment of state in Arlington is welcomed and without Amazon, they wouldn’t have received it. Another supporter claims that if the grants to Amazon are carried out in a right way, there can be improvement in low-income households.
The meeting of the board had to be adjourned twice due to the commotion created by the protestors. One of the protestor, who was running to chambers where the board members were, was charged for trespassing. The Amazon board did not return to the board meeting after the first meeting was cancelled.
The county expects Amazon to occupy just 64,000 feet to be eligible for the grant and to gain more than 6 million sq. feet till 2035. The board members and the county also expect the Amazon’s minimum wage to be $150,000 and invest $2.5 billion in the county.
The grants provided to Amazon seem to be provided against the plea of protestors, yet they also look like development opportunities for the Arlington County, the state and the residents.
It is still uncertain what would be the effects of the grant, seeing so many valid concerns and expectations from Amazon for establishing new headquarters in Arlington County.