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San Antonio Mayor Has 'No Regrets' On Amazon Decision

The competition for Amazon's second headquarters is over. Amazon announced Tuesday it would split its 50,000 jobs between Long Island City, New York, and Crystal City, Virginia, which is in the Washington D.C. area — and many are crying foul.

"So this circus we've witnessed across the United States of communities putting together absurd packages trying to lure Amazon ended up having no impact at all," said David Heard, CEO of Tech Bloc, who believes these areas were probably always on a short list because of access to talent.

For decades, economists have argued public subsidies for corporations aren’t effective.

“Sure, it's sad for Texas that Austin and Dallas didn't end up with those jobs,” he said, “but the public competition created a real cutthroat situation for the 238 companies who bid.”

John Oliver said on his HBO show last year: "If a company is big enough, it can actually create a bidding war with cities. That is actually happening right now with Amazon.”

WATCH | John Oliver on Amazon

Amazon will receive $22,000 per job created in Virginia, and $48,000 per job in New York. These jobs will pay an average of $150,000 per year.On its blog, Amazon said, between the two cities, it will invest $5 billion and increase the tax roles more than $13 billion dollars over 20 years.

WATCH | The pitch to bring HQ2 to Dallas

"We pulled out on the arms race of incentives," San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.

He added he has no regrets about the open letter to Amazon he sent last Oct. 11 that many interpreted as pulling San Antonio out of the running.

WATCH |  The pitch to bring HQ2 to Boston

"It was essentially a cattle call for incentives,” he said, “and that’s not a game that any American city ought to be playing. And the proof is in the way this whole (request for proposal) has played out."

Amazon also announced 5,000 jobs will be going to Nashville.

Paul Flahive can be reached at or on Twitter @paulflahive


Copyright 2020 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.

Paul Flahive is the accountability reporter for Texas Public Radio. He has worked in public media across the country, from Iowa City and Chicago to Anchorage and San Antonio.