While other states have taken extreme measure to land Amazon.com’s new headquarters —mailing gifts to the company’s CEO, producing videos, writing letters and offering billions in tax incentives — Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday that Minnesota is deliberately taking a different tack.
The governor said the state’s proposal, which will be sent to the Seattle-based online retailer this week, focuses on Minnesota’s workforce, educational opportunities and transportation systems, but does not put a dollar amount on how much the state would pitch in to get Amazon. Instead, Dayton said the pitch outlines the state’s existing incentive programs, but doesn’t make any pledges to set them aside for the company or even add up the full list of available incentives.
“I think it’s a very professional proposal, one we were told conforms to the kind of proposal they’d like to receive,” he said. “It’s a businesslike proposal without the gimmicks and the gadgetry, the sensational PR stuff we were told is not going to be persuasive.”
Dayton, who met with top economic development officials on Monday to finalize the proposal before Amazon’s Oct. 19 deadline, confirmed that the proposal for the headquarters, which could eventually employ 50,000 people, offers up several different sites as options. But the governor said he could not reveal where those sites are or even how many were included, because he and other Minnesota leaders had agreed to Amazon’s request to keep the proposal confidential.
“One of the sure ways to knock us out of the running is to violate the terms of the agreement,” he said.
Dayton previously said the state’s proposal would be “restrained,” and said he was sensitive to how a deal with Amazon could affect major local employers like Target and Best Buy. The governor said Tuesday that he called the leaders of both companies after Amazon announced its plans to build a second headquarters, but that he has not been in contact as the state finalized its proposal. Dayton said he has not spoken to leaders of Amazon.