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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker Didn’t Get His Amazon HQ2 Toolkit

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

A bill passed Wednesday by the Massachusetts legislature did not include a provision Gov. Charlie Baker hoped would open the door for larger tax breaks to companies with megaprojects like Amazon HQ2

The Baker version of the Economic Development Incentive Program included $20M in annual tax credits for businesses with development opportunities that would create 400 jobs in the state or 200 in a gateway city. While the tax incentives made it as far as legislation passed in early July by the House Ways and Means Committee, they did not make the final cut in a Senate version of the bill, the Boston Business Journal reports. Negotiators did not include the tax proposal in the final version of the bill approved before the end of the legislative session early Wednesday morning. 

Even if the bill had passed with Baker’s original plan, it was unlikely Massachusetts would have matched billion-dollar incentive packages passed by Maryland and New Jersey. Boston’s general attitude during its time on the shortlist has been to get the best deal for Boston instead of handing out a drastic incentive plan in Amazon’s favor. 

The D.C. region has been widely viewed as the front-runner for HQ2, as the area accounts for three slots on Amazon’s HQ2 shortlist of 20. Rumors intensified earlier this week when a job posting for a D.C.-based economic development manager, with a focus on local site selection and incentives, appeared on the Seattle-based company’s website.

Baker’s original tax plan was his administration’s desired tool in luring Amazon to open its second headquarters in Massachusetts, but the Economic Development Incentive Program will continue with a $30M annual cap on tax credits for companies. The proposed tax plan would have enabled Massachusetts to provide refundable tax credits, something Amazon mentioned in its original HQ2 request for proposals. 

While Baker previously mentioned special legislation to provide incentives for HQ2, the close of the 2018 formal legislative session means the state will have to utilize existing tax incentives in its quest for Amazon.

Related Topics: Gov. Charlie Baker, Amazon HQ2