Note to Georgia lawmakers: The lucrative package of incentives that Atlanta could put forth to stimulate a mini-city worthy of Amazon’s second headquarters won’t excuse state officials from dangling their own goodies.
That was the implicit message that Gov. Nathan Deal’s administration sent after Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms went public with what could be a 10-figure offering to spur a major development in the long-dormant Gulch.
“The ‘what if’ scenarios are endless,” said Deal’s top aide, Chris Riley, on social media. “I am positive any incentive offer from GA to Amazon for HQ2 between now and Jan, will be approved in a special session.”
He’s referring to Deal’s long-stated promise to call a special session if Amazon lists Atlanta as a top finalist for the $5 billion campus that could bring as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.
And that means whatever the city delivers will be on top of the billions of dollars worth of tax breaks, infrastructure improvements and other incentives that would be part of the state’s package.
The state has led the negotiations for the so-called HQ2 project from the get-go, an Olympics-like chase for the biggest economic development deal in a generation. Atlanta is one of 20 finalists, but Amazon could soon narrow the list.
Few legislators are looking forward to the prospect of a special session to vote on billions of dollars of incentives for a prosperous tech giant shortly before an election.
But Deal has tried to marshal state lawmakers and other leaders behind the bid. And both candidates to succeed him - Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp - have signaled they will back the deal.