Maryland House Readies Amazon Tax Breaks for Final Vote

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By Leslie A. Pappas

Maryland’s House of Delegates advanced a $5.6 billion tax incentive package for Amazon.com Inc. on April 3, readying the bill for a final vote this week.

S.B. 877 would offer $5.6 billion in tax incentives to any “qualifying business” that commits to hiring a minimum of 40,000 people and spending $4.5 billion over a 17-year period, according to the fiscal note accompanying the bill. The House approved the bill on second reading April 3, opening it up to a final vote during the closing days of the state’s legislative session.

Passing the legislation is necessary for Maryland to offer tax incentives to the online retail giant because the state doesn’t have a full-time economic development agency like some other states do.

The bill was written directly in response to Amazon’s September 2017 announcement that it would establish a second headquarters (HQ2) outside of Seattle. Amazon has put Montgomery County, Md., on its short list of potential sites for its second headquarters.

The incentives only would kick in if Amazon comes to Maryland. The bill would take effect June 1 and would expire if the Maryland Department of Commerce didn’t certify a business as a qualifying business before Jan. 1, 2022.

Maryland’s legislative session ends April 9.

Tax Break Bids

Nineteen cities in the U.S. and one in Canada are in the running to become another headquarters for the Seattle-based company, which Amazon said will be the site of 50,000 high-paying jobs and an investment of $5 billion in the local community.

With few exceptions, the 20 finalist cities aren’t releasing details of their bids, particularly when it comes to financial incentives, though advocates from New York to Miami have demanded the information be made public. Nonprofit organizations and newspapers around the country have sued in attempts to pry details from local governments.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie A. Pappas in Philadelphia at lpappas@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan C. Tuck at rtuck@bloombergtax.com

For More Information

Text of S.B. 877 is at http://src.bna.com/xzI.

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