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Maryland’s Amazon HQ2 bid might be most generous in the nation

A legislative analysis of the state’s incentives estimate that they cost up to $8.5 billion

The signature glass spheres at the Amazon corporate headquarters in Seattle, Washington.
Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images

Before, the most generous tax incentive package revealed for attaining Amazon’s second headquarters, otherwise known as HQ2, was New Jersey’s approximately $7 billion package. In a new article by WAMU, it appears that Maryland may actually be in the lead. While Governor Larry Hogan introduced the state’s incentives as totaling $5 billion—$3 billion for tax breaks and $2 billion for transportation upgrades—a legislative analysis concluded that it might actually be up to $8.5 billion.

Despite this, it’s worth noting that tax incentive packages for many jurisdictions are still kept under wraps, so it is possible that there may be another state or city that is offering more than Maryland. Even D.C. has been silent about what they are offering the tech company.

To account for the large difference in Maryland’s tax incentive estimates, WAMU shared a Fiscal and Policy Note from the General Assembly’s Department of Legislative Services, which reads:

“Most of this difference reflects the lower estimated impact of the income tax credit by [the Maryland Department of Commerce], which projects that the company receiving the benefits proposed by the bill will not increase the average salary paid to qualified positions over the 25-year period. This represents a real salary decrease of about 40 percent over that time period.”

Additionally, Hogan’s office’s estimates did not take into account wage hikes that could occur over the following 25 years.

Allison Mayer, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Commerce, challenged the $8.5 billion estimate, telling WAMU, “There is information that they don’t have access to,” which the General Assembly’s Fiscal and Policy Note states is true.

The incentive package has already made it through both the Senate and House.

Price Check: Incentives For Amazon’s HQ2 May Cost Maryland More Than Gov. Hogan Said [WAMU]