Who can blame Amazon? Who should be surprised that Chicago and Illinois lost the much sought-after Amazon headquarters to Queens and Crystal City (New York and northern Virginia)?
I mean, if you were Amazon's boss, would you want to set up shop in Chicago and Illinois when they are nearly bankrupt, when your income tax will jump (Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker won't say by how much), when your property taxes are among the highest in the nation, when Chicago schools are so bad they keep losing students, when parts of the city are killing fields, when everyone who can skedaddle from Chicago and Illinois are jumping at the chance?
It's often said is that businesses yearn for "stability." That's so it can plan ahead and count on their projections for sales and investment. With Chicago and Illinois on the brink of catastrophe, stability is the last thing that can be offered to Amazon.
Yes, Amazon considered other factors, important business considerations such as the availability of high-tech workers or cultural considerations, such as the number of farmers markets.
Transportation also was a big factor. Chicago was touting O'Hare International Airport and its expansion. That's a joke. Anyone using O'Hare knows its a miserable place first-hand and that the billions spent over the past 17 years haven't improved the airport at all and that there's more billions to spend, which will cost Amazon more for air travel.
(Of course, we offered Amazon $2 billion in subsidies to lure it here, but apparently that wasn't enough for the nearly $1 trillion Amazon to hold its nose to move here.)
Funny, there's talk that losing Amazon will spur Chicago and Illinois to fix its problems. Funny too how big business, the media, civic leaders and politicians are avoiding talking about how Chicago's and Illinois' dismal finances are a reason for our loss. Mayor Rahm Emanuel only hinted at it when he was asked what went wrong? As Crain's Greg Hinz reported:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel wouldn’t say today, citing “confidential discussions” with the e-commerce giant. But he broadly hinted that dysfunction in Illinois state government was the killer factor and insisted that, even without Amazon, Chicago has turned the corner and will continue to build as a tech center.
Turned what corner? We just had an election that promises only more of the same.
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