Amazon's list of finalists for the location of its future second headquarters is out, and Newark, N.J., is on the list.
If the Internet mega-company ends up putting down roots in New Jersey's largest city, the state is ready to hand over massive tax incentives: One of Chris Christie's last acts as governor was to approve tax incentives that could total about $7 billion. The tax package, signed by Christie last week, is the largest publicly known tax package being offered to Amazon.
"Newark is the ideal location," Assembly Budget Chair Eliana Pintor Marin (D., Essex) said in a statement Thursday, "and New Jersey's recently approved incentive package will ensure economic development, innovation and job creation for years to come."
Amazon's HQ2 will lead to investment of around $5 billion and employment of up to 50,000 people, the company said, which has led to feverish competition among cities. The company received 238 proposals last year, and Thursday announced its 20 finalists, including Philadelphia. The final selection will come sometime this year.
The law signed by Christie provides the bulk of the tax package being offered to Amazon. It includes:
Property tax abatement worth up to $1 billion
City wage tax waiver that would exempt $1 billion over 20 years
State tax incentives per job created, up to $5 billion over 20 years if 50,000 jobs are created
"Acting proactively with a specific plan was the wise thing to do," State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D., Gloucester) said in a statement Thursday. "We have now moved much closer by having Newark selected as a finalist. We stand behind the proposal, and we will continue to work to convince Amazon that New Jersey is the best location for their new headquarters."
In attempting to woo Amazon to Newark, Christie and other officials touted several factors, including its central location near New York and Philadelphia and its robust transportation options.
"[N]obody in any other state wants Amazon's HQ2 more than New Jersey and the City of Newark, and there is nowhere better for this tremendously innovative job creator to grow and thrive," Christie said in a statement when he signed the bill into law.
The use of large tax incentive packages to lure business, including many to Camden, was a hallmark of Christie's administration, and the state Economic Development Authority says projects it supports have helped bring in more than $2.2 billion in private investment since 2010.