Louisville keeping incentives for failed Amazon HQ bid private
The region didn’t make the list of 20 finalists the Seattle-based online giant selected from 238 applications last month.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville Metro government is withholding details about incentives and other concessions it offered to attract Amazon’s second North American headquarters.
The city didn’t make the list of 20 finalists the Seattle-based online giant selected from 238 applications last month, the latest step in a months-long bidding war pitting metro areas and cities against each other.
But the Louisville Forward economic development agency declined to provide the specific details about possible tax breaks, financial enticement and potential locations for the Amazon operations, saying Kentucky open records law allows those details to remain kept from public view.
A 27-page “incentive program” was not released.
City officials cited part of the law that lets “preliminary” documents be shielded. In particular, they noted, a 2004 Kentucky Attorney General’s opinion said economic development proposals and incentives can remain confidential if no agreement is ever reached.
Louisville Forward did release redacted documents that show the proposal, called “Louisville Bold,” was submitted by city and state governments, along with Indiana and “our greater Louisville private and public sector regional partners.”
Among other things, Louisville’s pitch to Amazon included a proposed “Water Taxi Service,” but details were withheld.
City officials have said $170,000 was spent on the unsuccessful headquarters bid -- $70,000 from Louisville Metro’s economic development budget and about $100,000 raised by the Greater Louisville Inc. chamber of commerce.
Leaders insisted the money, which funded promotional videos and other things, wasn’t wasted and can be reused for other business attraction efforts.
Amazon is expected to spend $5 billion on its second headquarters and create up to 50,000 well-paying corporate jobs.