The Amazon Gets a Little Thicker
Sam Burnham, Curator
So Atlanta has been named a finalist. It's not exactly a surprise. The state government as well as the City of Atlanta are just giddy with excitement. It is as if this is a good thing. There is no way to show them that this is quite possibly a disaster in the making.
Nathan Deal is basically willing to give Amazon, one of the richest companies in the world, $1.5 billion to move to Georgia. It is mind boggling. In return Amazon would theoretically move to Georgia and hire 50,000 Georgians to high paying jobs. Reality is that they'd relocate the vast majority of those workers. Many would come from states with dramatically different cultural and political belief systems. The governor is willing to burn 1.5 billion of our tax dollars to possibly import 50,000 liberal voters.
What will that mean for Georgia's small towns?
We already have a terrible problem with Metro Atlanta not understanding what is going on in rural Georgia. This move is going to lead to more inflated housing costs, more interbasin water transfers, more traffic, more demands that state money be spent on Atlanta's transit fiasco, more urban and suburban sprawl into Georgia's farmlands and forests, more energy usage on Georgia grids, more pollution, more crime. It is a terrible idea.
When pondering the money that this deal could bring into the state, several noted economists have made statements that getting Amazon could ever recuperate the amount of money that we're willing to spend to get it. The loss in tax revenue, increased expenses for services and infrastructure, as well as the price of new demands made by the company would never allow the economic benefits of the deal to catch up to the expenses. There is no way to ever get that $1.5 billion back. It will be gone forever.
Just a fraction, perhaps half, of the credits and incentives could be used to improve broadband coverage in rural Georgia. The impact this could have on education, medicine, and homespun business in the areas outside the metro is enormous. Spreading the ecnomic benefits o0ver a larger swath of the state would bring our economy closer to more Georgians than throwing twice as much money into a hole in The Gulch in Atlanta ever could.
We need to be contacting our representatives in Atlanta and putting the brakes on this. Once the money is gone, it's gone forever. If we get a mess to compound the loss of money we'll lose twice. The Amazon is not a river we want to ride.
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Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire