During this morning’s media event to announce completion of Tacoma/South Sound’s response and invitation to host Amazon’s second headquarters, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland mentioned her city might have a special attraction.
Existing state law provides for a deferral or waiver of sales taxes related to locating a headquarters to a Community Empowerment Zone, for which Tacoma is already certified, Strickland says. This could mean a savings of up to 6.5 percent – the state sales tax rate – for construction-related expenditures.
This was reportedly mentioned in an email from state Department of Commerce that was sent to cities and counties around the state, but not released publicly.
This is one of the tax breaks already on the books, that could be beneficial to Amazon, but are also available to any other eligible company. A state spokesman emphasized that there has been no particular concession approved or offered to attract HQ2.
There are four other existing tax credit programs that potentially could be applied to a Tacoma selection, including special B&O tax credits for hiring unemployed veterans. Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, a Navy veteran himself, noted that Amazon has a strong corporate policy to hire veterans. And the South Sound’s proximity to military installations can make that more doable.