The Amazon Effect: How taxpayers are funding the disruption of the U.S. economy

DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL - Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has built a net worth of roughly $85 billion with the sort of discipline and scale refined by corporate titans before him — Rockefeller, Ford and Gates among them — though no one has so efficiently tapped America’s collective impatience and love for a bargain. What Albuquerque’s favorite son is accomplishing, and the ruthless speed at which he is accomplishing it, is unprecedented.

He’s had lots of help along the way.

Americans have supported the Bezos surge in two distinct ways: by buying everything from dog food to diamonds on Amazon.com and by kicking in at least $1.24 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies and incentives that have fueled the company’s growth across the country. That figure does not include hundreds-of-millions of dollars in additional breaks from deals to phase in state sales taxes, nor does it include dozens of hard-to-quantify tax abatements and land arrangements struck with a mosaic of towns, counties and school districts along the way.

Those subsidies, aggregated in a Business Journals analysis of public records and financial filings from across the United States, have helped support the expansion of Amazon’s sprawling network of more than 257 sorting and distribution centers, a 141 million-square-foot portfolio of facilities that house hundreds-of-thousands of workers in 33 states. The company has millions more square feet in Class A office space as well as a rapidly expanding portfolio of data centers managed by Amazon Web Services Inc., arguably its fastest-growing division and abeneficiary of more than $229 million in known taxpayer subsidies.

Read more at the Denver Business Journal: http://bit.ly/2hAtRhc

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