Amazon Archives - Colorado Politics
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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 20, 20183min6350

Victor Mitchell’s new digital ad campaign doesn’t go after his Republican primary opponents, or even the best-known Democrats, Jared Polis, Mike Johnston, Cary Kennedy or Donna Lynne.

Instead the entrepreneur and former legislator from Douglas County takes aim at Gov. Hickenlooper and the tax breaks being offered to lure the Amazon HQ2 project to Denver.

Mitchell goes on to give Amazon pause as to how welcome they might be in Colorado if he’s the governor, saying he’s too wealthy for a tax break to matter. Denver this week made the top 20 for the economic development prize that cities across the country have courted.

“If Amazon brings its HQ2 to the Denver Metro area, it could be a great thing,” Mitchell said in a statement. “The promised high-paying jobs will be good for our workforce. But Amazon should come here, first and foremost, for Colorado’s terrific quality of life, and not simply for tax deals.”

The Republican millionaire called out the billionaire who owns Amazon.

“Jeff Bezos is reportedly the richest person in the world, at $105 Billion,” Mitchell continued. “We must not give the richest man in the world, and his company, Amazon, tax breaks that would enrich them and the Denver metro area at the expense of economic development for rural Colorado. The state has a finite number of dollars for tax incentives, and Amazon must not be allowed to pocket all or even most of them. It would only deepen a growing urban-rural divide in Colorado, creating a system of haves and have-nots, and lead to fewer job opportunities back home for young people from rural communities.”

Mitchell threw in, “Colorado shouldn’t give one red cent to Bezos, not a penny. He is just too wealthy for
it to matter.”

Instead,  tax incentives could be steered to small- and medium-sized businesses to smaller towns in Colorado, where “it could make a huge difference in the lives of people living and working there.”

He called on Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to be more transparent in their business dealings with Bezos.

“Gov.Hickenlooper and Mayor Hancock and all the other government insiders ram-rodding this deal to let the sun shine on their proposal to Bezos,” Mitchell stated. “Let us know about all contacts and communications with Bezos his Amazon team. It’s our money, the people’s money, that the insiders are dangling before Bezos. Tell us how much and under what terms.”

The digital ad campaign will run for at least two weeks, the campaign said, then it will be renewed as “developments in the Amazon saga warrant.”


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 9, 20173min4390

… Well, you’ll have to wait until next week — a week from today — and even then, you only can expect to see a redacted version of the state’s proposal to host the online retail giant’s second North American headquarters. The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation — along with a team of economic development partners, universities, businesses and communities that offered input into the proposal — is still going to withhold information that could tip Colorado’s hand to prying competitors or local land speculators.

As a Metro Denver EDC announcement put it today, the group “will share the proposal process, design elements, and hard copies of the proposal,” but, “site information and other proprietary data will remain confidential.”

The proposal was submitted to Amazon last month.

Here’s the who-what-when-where, etc., in today’s press announcement:

WHEN:  8:30 to 9 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 16

WHERE:  Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, 1445 Market St. 4th Floor

WHO:  Metro Denver EDC CEO J. J. Ament and Vice President of Economic Development Sam Bailey will present the proposal to business leaders who sit on the Metro Denver EDC Executive Committee.

WHY: This economic development effort has attracted enormous attention, and the Metro Denver EDC would like the public to see the creativity and innovation that went into the region’s submission to Amazon – and to inform interested parties how the Metro Denver EDC works regularly to attract corporate relocation, expansion, and capital investment to Colorado.

DETAILS: Please RSVP to daryl.vitali@metrodenver.org by Tuesday, Nov. 14

 

 


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyNovember 6, 20174min6730

Denver is considered by many to be among the frontrunners to win the bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, or as the kids call it HQ2.

Amazon is after all weighing a city’s or region’s proximity to an international airport (within a 45 minute-drive), strong local and regional talent and recreational opportunities not unlike those Seattle offers (i.e. mountains) in the HQ2 decision process. Denver’s got ‘em. Even the New York Times picked the Mile High City to ultimately woo Amazon.

But, the retail giant is also considering public transportation, and according to one study, Denver’s poor access to transit could hurt its odds.

Real estate research company Reis Inc., based in New York City, conducted a recent survey of 25 cities which showed Denver behind more than a dozen cities in the bid for Amazon’s second HQ, largely due to poor mass-transit access. NYC, San Francisco and Washington D.C. topped the rankings, with Denver coming in at 15.

Reis analyzed the 25 cities across eight equally-weighted criteria Amazon outlined in its request for proposals.

Amazon announced it would start accepting proposals for a location for its second headquarters in September, promising to invest more than $5 billion for construction and operation of HQ2 and create 50,000 jobs. With the construction and operation of an Amazon HQ2, the surrounding community should expect to grow tens of thousands of additional jobs, and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment, Amazon said.

The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation’s proposal — submitted last month and including as many as eight metro-area locations for HQ2 —  is said to highlight the region’s educated workforce and quality of life over financial incentives.

Reis’s survey noted Amazon could decide on a location for HQ2 based on factors other than those considered in their research.

“These measures include the tax incentives granted by the city/state, the ‘creativeness’ of the location, other immeasurable qualitative features and/or an underlying preference on the part of the decision makers for such things as access to skiing, a lake, river or ocean,” the study said.

Amazon said it received 238 proposals from cities and regions in 54 states, provinces, districts territories across the country.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 1, 20173min5120

Hat tip to the Loveland Reporter-Herald for profiling an obscure tax issue that eventually could find its way onto just about every TV screen in Colorado: the city of Loveland’s attempt to assess local sales tax on internet streaming behemoth Netflix.

An audit last year by City Hall in the northern Front Range burg revealed Netflix hadn’t collected from its Loveland customers — or remitted to the city — some $85,000 in sales tax during the previous three years. After accounting for penalties and interest, Loveland handed the entertainment giant a tab for $116,508.22. Netflix doubtless could sneeze and more than that paltry sum would come out — but it balked at the bill on principle.

According to the Reporter-Herald’s Julia Rentsch, Netflix filed a complaint with the city challenging the tax bill. The complaint contends both city and state law exempt the streaming service from taxation as it doesn’t constitute, “sales of tangible personal property that are also subject to the Colorado sales tax.” The complaint states in part:

“Netflix provides a service that begins when Netflix sources entertainment content from movies and television studios, and continues as Netflix optimizes that content for viewing, creates unique and personalized interfaces for every single subscriber, and provides a seamless viewing experience … Therefore, the Streaming Service constitutes a nontaxable service under the City Code and Colorado law.”

Just last week, the city backed down, but the issue might not go away. In fact, the city wants to punt it to the state:

On Thursday, the city rescinded the tax assessment and dismissed the complaint, but it says it wants the state to decide whether Colorado cities may tax online streaming service subscriptions going forward.

This whole issue, it should be noted, is distinct from the years-long grudge match between state governments and e-commerce retailers like Amazon over the assessment of sales taxes on goods sold online.