Amazon AWS: Criticisms launched at Amazon's $1 billion subsidy in eastern Oregon

May 30, 2023 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Amazon's contentious $1 billion subsidy in Oregon is coming under fire from critics. The massive break was given the go-ahead following a unanimous vote by Port of Morrow's five commissioners which enabled the giant to secure the enterprise zone incentives. Locals were given just one day's notice before the final vote. 

According to Good Jobs First, it's the largest known economic development subsidy award in Amazon's history. And, to put this in perspective, last year, the company made over half a trillion dollars in revenue. 

Speaking about this, Good Jobs First senior analyst Kasia Tarczynska said: "With this new award, we now know of $6.1 billion in subsidies given to Amazon in the United States alone. No other retailer in U.S. history has come anywhere close to such enrichment at public expense."

"In a 2016 study looking at major internet companies and their data center subsidies, we found a cost per job of almost $2 million," commented Greg LeRoy, Good Jobs First executive director. 

Adding: "The AWS grab in Morrow could be several times that. At these obscene costs, the only clear outcome is a massive transfer of wealth from Oregon taxpayers to Amazon shareholders."

"Oregonians should not pay Amazon to do what it would do anyway," said Good Jobs First.

According to the giant, since 2011, it has invested more than $15.6 billion in eastern Oregon communities. It claimed that "investments like these" create and support "high-paying, highly skilled jobs in local communities," and projects that "benefit" local education, healthcare, public services, and more," the company added. Indeed, the officials have shared their hope that the deal will secure $12 billion in new Amazon spending in the area. 

However, according to Good Jobs First, one public official who was involved in approving the deal admitted he had "no idea" how many jobs the data centers would actually create.

As reported by The Oregonian, the state is also reportedly investigating potential conflicts of interest among port officials and a former county commissioner, who owns Windwave Communications, which provides fiber-optic service to Amazon's local data centers, and voted on previous deals.

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