News Story

Michigan Subsidizes Amazon, Even Without Second HQ Project

Millions in taxpayer dollars for distribution centers gives retailer a marketplace edge

The state of Maryland is currently on top of the national leaderboard when it comes to states throwing taxpayer dollars at Amazon in hopes of enticing the company to establish its second headquarters.

Maryland legislators approved $8.5 billion in state aid to get Amazon’s new facility, dubbed the HQ2 headquarters, to come to Montgomery County, outside Washington, D.C.

Amazon shunned Michigan in its selection process. Even so, the company benefits from millions of dollars of business subsidies given out by the state’s corporate welfare office.

Michigan has awarded millions of dollars to Amazon to help it build distribution centers around the state. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation awarded Amazon a $4 million grant in May to support its effort to build a 100-acre distribution center in Gaines Township.

The MEDC approved a $4.5 million grant for Amazon in September 2017 for a distribution center in Shelby Township.

Three months earlier, the MEDC approved a $5 million grant for Amazon in June 2017 for a distribution center in Romulus.

The MEDC approved a $7.5 million grant for Amazon in December 2016 for another distribution center, this time in Livonia.

Amazon’s profits increased from $274 million in 2013 to $3.0 billion in 2017, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos reportedly has a net worth of $140 billion, up $40 billion from 2017, according to Forbes.

“Amazon moved around the state to get closer to their customers,” said James Hohman, director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “They didn’t need money from state taxpayers to do it.”

Amazon’s national headquarters didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. 

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.