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Help wanted: Amazon seeking second home

September 18. 2017 6:12PM

If New Hampshire hopes to lure Amazon to build its second North American headquarters in the Granite State, it is going to have to convince CEO Jeff Bezos to change what is in his shopping cart.

The online bookstore turned online-everything store and TV studio has invited cities to apply for the $5 billion Amazon HQ2, with the promise of up to 50,000 high-paying jobs.

New Hampshire certainly has a lot to offer, but not necessarily what Bezos is looking for.

For starters, the first criteria in Amazon’s invitation is a population center of at least a million people. More importantly, Amazon is also interested in the various incentive programs that cities and states are willing to offer.

That’s not how New Hampshire works, and we shouldn’t change our tax laws to chase this white whale. Sustained economic growth will come from easing the tax burdens for all companies, rather than playing favorites.

Handing out tax incentives to big corporations just passes the burden on to small, less politically powerful taxpayers. As long as politicians are going to hand out special treatment, businesses like Amazon are going to seek it out.

Gov. Chris Sununu and Business and Economic Affairs Commissioner Taylor Caswell might as well make a pitch to land Amazon. New Hampshire is an increasingly attractive place to do business.

But we are not, and should never become, the place most willing to bid for new businesses with public money.

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