Cities Line Up To Give Amazon Billions In Tax Breaks While Many Of Its Employees Rely On Food Stamps
April 21, 2018
By B. Tanner
(NATIONAL) – Seattle’s Amazon has become such an amazing Horatio Alger success story – and founder Jeff Bezos so rich, famous, envied and written about over the years by the business press and mainstream media – that many of us often fail to think about what sometimes lurks behind the scenes of those incredible corporate success stories; the ones the business magazines can't seem to write enough about.
To look behind the scenes we sometimes (well, a lot of the times it seems) have to rely on that feisty, wonderful thing called a free, independent press. Those indy reporters at Indy newspapers and websites who dare to jump into nooks and crannies the business mags often shy away from.
Check out these opening lines from a recent story over at The Intercept:
“Later this year Amazon will begin accepting grocery orders from customers using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal anti-poverty program formerly known as food stamps. As the nation’s largest e-commerce grocer, Amazon stands to profit more than any other retailer when the $70 billion program goes online after an initial eight-state pilot.
But this new revenue will effectively function as a double subsidy for the company: In Arizona, new data suggests that one in three of the company’s own employees depend on SNAP to put food on the table. In Pennsylvania and Ohio, the figure appears to be around one in 10. Overall, of five states that responded to a public records request for a list of their top employers of SNAP recipients, Amazon cracked the top 20 in four.
By 2021, Amazon is projected to handle 50 percent of all online sales in the United States. To accomplish this, it must add to the dozens of fulfillment centers that ensure the swift delivery of cheap televisions and shampoo bottles to nearly every corner of the nation. And to finance this expansion, the company will doubtless continue to leverage the promise of full-time jobs with benefits that it has used to win more than $1.2 billion in incentives from state and local governments so far.”
How’s that for going against the usual business mag grain? Some more interesting items from that report:
~ Independent analyses show Amazon pays below-average wages for the warehouse jobs it brings to any town...
~ ...while taxpayers over the years have “generously subsidized” the build-out of Amazon’s warehouses.
~ The new numbers showing Amazon employees’ “extensive reliance” on that SNAP food program shows something very interesting: that reliance by those workers is an added public cost of Amazon’s rapid expansion because even though those generous (taxpayer funded) subsidies help the Amazon warehouses turn a profit, many of its workers then turn around and still have to rely on a “federal safety net” (paid by all of us taxpayers) to put food on the table. How weird is that?
Now, for sure Amazon has a counter argument to all those claims and in some cases, depending how you view certain numbers you could say some of those claims and counter claims end up being sort of a stand-off, a wash as it were, with no clear financial or moral argument winner to be found.
Even so, it’s an interesting eye-opener of a read. Billy Bob says check it out right here .