Amazon offered billions in tax breaks for second US headquarters

Amazon said it will announce a decision for its second campus, in addition to its Seattle headquarters, next year. (Reuters)
Updated 19 October 2017
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Amazon offered billions in tax breaks for second US headquarters

SAN FRANCISO: US cities are offering Amazon.com Inc. at least as much as $7 billion (SR26.25 billion) in tax breaks ahead of a Thursday deadline as they compete to house its second headquarters.
The world’s largest online retailer has won promises from elected officials who are eager for the $5 billion-plus investment and up to 50,000 jobs that will come with “Amazon HQ2.”
New Jersey proposed $7 billion in potential credits against state and city taxes if Amazon locates in Newark and sticks to hiring commitments, according to a Monday news release from the governor’s office.
Across the Hudson River, New York City made a proposal without incentives special for Amazon, though the state is expected to offer some, a spokesman for the city’s economic development corporation said on Wednesday.
And across the country, California is offering some $300 million in incentives over several years and other benefits, the governor said in an October 11 letter to Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, published online by the Orange County Register.
Dozens of cities and states have expressed interest in HQ2. Credit ratings and research company Moody’s has ranked Austin as the most likely to win based on its labor pool, costs of doing business and quality of life, among other criteria.
Austin is also the headquarters of Whole Foods Market, which Amazon recently acquired.
The city’s chamber of commerce said in a Twitter post on Wednesday that it submitted its bid for HQ2.
Amazon has said it will announce a decision for its second campus, in addition to its Seattle headquarters, next year.


Urgency needed to boost Palestinian economy: IMF chief

Updated 26 June 2019
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Urgency needed to boost Palestinian economy: IMF chief

  • The MF has been warning of severe deterioration in the Palestinian economy
  • ‘If there is an economic plan, if there is urgency, it’s a question of making sure that the momentum is sustained’

MANAMA: IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Wednesday that major economic growth was possible in the Palestinian territories if all sides showed urgency, as she took part in a US-led conference boycotted by the Palestinian leadership.
The International Monetary Fund has been warning of severe deterioration in the Palestinian economy, with tax revenue blocked in a dispute with Israel which has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip for more than a decade.
“If there is an economic plan, if there is urgency, it’s a question of making sure that the momentum is sustained,” said Lagarde.
The IMF chief is attending a conference in Bahrain to discuss the economic aspects of a United States plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, which has already been rejected by the Palestinians as it fails to address key political issues.
Lagarde said for the US plan to work “it will require all the goodwill in the world on the part of all parties — private sector, public sector, international organizations and the parties on the ground and their neighbors.”
Citing examples of post-conflict countries, Lagarde said that private investors needed progress in several sectors including strengthening the central bank, better managing public finance and mobilizing domestic revenue.
“If anti-corruption is really one of the imperatives of the authorities — as it was in Rwanda, for instance — then things can really take off,” she said.
The plan presented by White House adviser Jared Kushner calls for $50 billion of investment in the Palestinian territories and its neighbors within a decade.
The proposals for infrastructure, tourism, education and more aim to create one million Palestinian jobs.
Gross domestic product in the Gaza Strip declined by eight percent last year, while there was only minor growth in the West Bank.
Kushner, opening the conference on Tuesday, called the plan the “Opportunity of the Century” — and said the Palestinians needed to accept it before a deal can be reached on political solutions.
The Palestinian Authority has rejected the conference, saying that the US and Israel are trying to dangle money to impose their ideas on a political settlement.
Washington says it will unveil the political aspects of its peace deal at a later date, most likely after Israel’s September election.