Business-giant Amazon has announced their pick for the location of their long-awaited second company headquarters dubbed “HQ2.” The second location is actually split between two regions – Crystal City, a neighborhood in the southeastern corner of Arlington County, Virginia, and Long Island City, part of the Queens Borough in New York City, New York. In a bid to hire approximately 50,000 employees, the company announced they are also pledging a “significant investment” in one city.
During a press conference with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D), he said the Commonwealth will get around $2.5 billion in economic development funding from Amazon in Northern Virginia.
Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) said in a press release, “Today’s announcement is a reflection on Virginia’s business-friendly, pro-growth policies, a signal that we are emerging as one of the leading tech talent capitals in the world, and the product of a serious economic development effort to demonstrate all that Virginia has to offer. Everyone should be excited about this once-in-a-generation opportunity and its potential to revolutionize the Commonwealth’s economic future.”
Building on his remarks delivered to Virginia business leaders at the annual meeting of the GO Virginia Foundation months ago, wherein the GOP leader spoke on investing in higher education statewide, Speaker Cox remarked, “Amazon’s partnership with Virginia’s institutions of higher education, specifically Virginia Tech, [will] create a pipeline of tech talent is a model for collaboration between business and higher education.”
“This project will not only create thousands of new, high-paying jobs in Virginia, but it will also source a large portion of those new employees from our very own in-state talent. These are the kind of collaborative efforts between higher education and business that we must have if Virginia is going to succeed economically,” he added.
Led by Speaker Cox, the pro-business Republican majority in the General Assembly has spearheaded initiatives recently regarding regulatory reform packages, with more than 1,200 regulations identified for elimination. They have also provided a plan to alter the state’s federally-conforming tax code to allow for middle-class tax breaks following extraordinary tax collections and a windfall of over $500 million more in revenue than what was originally forecast, after the federal tax overhaul was signed into law last December. It challenges Governor Northam’s proposed refundable earned income tax credit (ETIC) for lower-income Virginians.
Regardless, the speaker adds to the news of Amazon building one-half of its second headquarters in Northern Virginia, “In recent years, Virginia has strengthened its economic development oversight to include rigorous, post-performance evaluations. I’m pleased to see this is a performance oriented incentive agreement that includes provisions to protect taxpayer dollars and ensure all parties meet the objectives that have been outlined.”
“Amazon has long been a valued corporate citizen in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I welcome this expansion and look forward to continuing our partnership through this new venture,” Speaker Cox said. Nevertheless, he also explained that the “House of Delegates must thoroughly review the parameters of this agreement during the 2019 session to ensure that every aspect of this agreement is beneficial to both Amazon and Virginia.”