GE in Boston . . . Amazon in NYC . . . seemed like ‘good’ ideas at the time

FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2018, file photo graffiti has been painted on a sidewalk by someone opposed to the location of an Amazon headquarters in the Long Island City neighborhood in the Queens borough of New York. Local opposition to the proposed Amazon campus grew quickly with grievances that the deal was done secretively; Amazon didn’t need nearly $3 billion in tax incentives; and rising rents could push people out of the neighborhood. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Mark Lennihan/File 2018/AP
Local opposition to the proposed Amazon campus in New York grew quickly.

Tax dollars should be spent on our shared future, not to feed businesses

Three cheers to Jon Chesto for pointing out the political peril of tax subsidies for major corporations like GE and Amazon (“More scrutiny of public incentives likely,” Business, Feb. 15).

Why should America’s shared resources be spent to support the expansion of individual businesses?

Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars should be spent to build a shared future, like 21st-century transit, better schools, job training programs, housing, and affordable health care, not to make bets on individual businesses looking for a handout.


As we’ve seen with the experience of GE and Amazon, those handouts can be sucker bets, with the companies almost always coming out on top. Why do lawmakers keep on playing? It’s simple: Governments aren’t very good at picking businesses — but businesses are very good at picking governments.

Evan Falchuk


The author is a former independent candidate for governor of Massachusetts

These tax deals should benefit places that really need the fiscal boost

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Your coverage of Amazon’s decision to bail on New York City for a new headquarters made me think: If we lived in a nation with a more evolved sense of the relationship between the needs of business and the needs of the country — if we lived, say, in Germany — would it not make sense for the government to offer a financial incentive to establish such a huge economic game changer in a place that truly needs it — like West Virginia? Wouldn’t that be preferable to Amazon just glomming itself onto the intellectual and political capitals of the nation? Or would that be too much like “socialism” — or common sense?

Joe Gannon