Hogan Will Unveil Legislative Package to Lure Amazon Next Week
By Bruce DePuyt
Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Thursday he is “thrilled” that Montgomery County remains in the running for Amazon’s second headquarters.
On Thursday, the online retail giant announced that it has culled its list of applicants from 238 to 20. Montgomery, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia made the cut. Prince George’s County and Baltimore city did not.
While the Hogan administration’s preference for the Amazon facility was at Port Covington, in Baltimore, which is the site of several redevelopment projects, Hogan pledged to work with Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) during the next phase of the company’s search process.
“I think Baltimore needed the help more than anybody else did,” Hogan said at a news conference. “But we’re thrilled that Maryland is on that short list and potentially is going to receive 50,000 jobs, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that that happens. The contribution to our economy is just incredible.”
Hogan said he would submit legislation to the General Assembly laying out the state’s incentive package on Monday. It is expected to be worth billions of dollars.
“I spoke with County Executive Ike Leggett today and we’re going to work together — the county and the state — to make sure that we compete and do everything we can to get these jobs,” the governor added.
In a statement, Leggett said, “As the only County in the country on the short list, having the ability to move forward for further consideration is a real honor. I believe our initial proposal made an extremely strong case for Montgomery County as a great place do business.”
The state and county have not said publicly where they propose to site the new Amazon headquarters.
The company’s list of finalists inevitably exposed some regional tensions in Maryland. But officials and business leaders were trying to make the best of it.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) expressed disappointment his county was axed from consideration, but the gubernatorial hopeful, perhaps with an eye to the large role Montgomery is likely to play in this year’s election, immediately endorsed the neighboring bid.
“We were gratified when Montgomery County endorsed Prince George’s County’s bid for the FBI headquarters,” Baker said in a statement, “and are pleased to now support their effort for Amazon.”
Donald Fry, president of the Greater Baltimore Committee, a leading business group, said he was “disappointed” that the city missed out.
“Baltimore put together a very strong and competitive package that included an unparalleled location in Port Covington and many compelling reasons that justified the city being a serious contender,” he said.
Fry said that even though the city was passed over this time, “the effort [too woo Amazon] has Baltimore City well positioned for future economic growth opportunities.”
A former Montgomery legislator, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a robust state-county partnership in pursuit of Amazon might blunt election-year criticism of Hogan from the county’s Democratic leaders.
A CNBC analysis of the remaining contenders (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnbc.com/amp/2018/01/18/washington-dc-is-shaping-up-as-strong-contender-for-amazons-new-hq.html) concluded that the Washington region appears to be a “strong contender” in the Amazon chase. “Amazon is clearly drawn to the Washington, D.C., area, particularly two suburban regions: Montgomery County, Maryland, and Northern Virginia,” the network reported.
CNBC’s research flowed from Amazon’s publicly announced search criteria — local airports, annual mass transit ridership, the number of higher education institutions within 10 miles, the share of the workforce with at least a college degree and the pace of job growth over the last 12 months.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013 and recently bought a house in Northwest Washington.