Opponents of Amazon’s planned deal with New York City often pointed to the hefty tax breaks New York was prepared to give the wildly successful retailer. Local activists and plenty of policy wonks suggested that if Google and Facebook could build large operations in the Big Apple without government assistance, so could Amazon.
Yet as the Washington Post notes, Google and other tech companies have sought and been granted subsidies in other places around the U.S., though not at the multibillion-dollar scale Amazon was expecting in New York. More worrying, some say, is the extent to which Google sought to conceal its development plans from public view. The secrecy surrounding the Amazon negotiations alienated some activists as much as the financial incentives. While the companies might argue that they can’t put every business decision to a public vote, it’s a tough case to make these days that projects with the potential to transform a town or neighborhood should be worked out behind closed doors.