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Conor Sen

Cities Don't Need More Jobs. They Need More Workers.

Provide services like child care that would bring more people into the workforce, or train workers for in-demand jobs.
Photographer: Chris Rank/Bloomberg

A funny thing happened after Amazon invited cities to compete for its second North American headquarters. Somehow other corporations got the idea that they would be the winners.

There's been a disturbing trend in corporations seeing the tax breaks offered to Amazon and deciding they're entitled to the same when they pursue their own expansions or relocations. There's nothing inherently wrong with municipalities offering tax breaks in exchange for jobs, but it shouldn't be automatic. Municipalities should weigh the pros and cons, and in a labor market this tight, cities might conclude tax breaks are a losing bet.