Washington, DC-Good Jobs First, which has for four years been urging governments to stop subsidizing Amazon.com, Inc., today renewed its call in light of the sales windfall the online retailer is reaping from the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of more tax breaks, Amazon should refund past subsidies and rescind future tax breaks in order to help governments cope.
"If ever there were a time and place to end wasteful corporate giveaways, it is right now in America with Amazon," said Good Jobs First executive director Greg LeRoy.
"As we've documented, Amazon has already received at least $2.9 billion for its warehouses, data centers and office buildings including HQ2. Now the company's retail growth curve has been put on steroids by people's need to stay home.
"We assume Amazon's most profitable arm, Amazon Web Services (i.e., data centers), is also experiencing a sales surge as more people work from home and as they avoid movie theaters and patronize streaming services for entertainment.
"This is absolutely a case in which a public health calamity is creating a corporate windfall. It's fortunate that Amazon may be able hire some dislocated workers and we note its decision to raise some workers' wages. But those are just further proof that the company needs no help: No more taxpayer dollars should go to help CEO Jeff Bezos build his sectoral monopolies.
"Instead of taking any more subsidies, to help states and localities pay for COVID-19 responses and aid for dislocated workers, Amazon should pay back those past economic development subsidies to governments. And the company should voluntarily agree with governments to rescind past subsidy awards going forward."
Good Jobs First's resources on Amazon subsidies, including HQ2, are available at https://www.goodjobsfirst.org/amazon.