The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, July 27, 2021 1:00 am

Amazon jungle

Abatement tantamount to betrayal of city and its small businesses

Ric Runestad

This evening, Fort Wayne City Council will decide whether it is going to give yet another massive abatement to the out-of-state mega-corporation Amazon. Following are the top reasons they should not engage in this massive giveaway with your money.

First, it is improper.

The rules about abatements are crystal clear. Retailers are not eligible for abatements, period.

Shills for Amazon will say, “Oh, but this $22-million dollar giveaway isn't for a retailer. It is for a fulfillment center. That's different, don't you see?”

Yes, it is for a warehouse, but for what kind of a company? A concrete contractor? A chiropractor's office? No, it is the warehouse for a retailer. If Amazon is not a retailer, then what is it?

Improperly giving Amazon an abatement will justifiably invite lawsuits from struggling local retailers.

Second, it is unnecessary.

Unfortunately, Amazon is going to descend on Fort Wayne like a cloud of locusts with or without this abatement. Amazon will not be content until it has driven every last local business out of existence, and to do this, it needs same-day delivery. This warehouse will help them get there.

Third, it is bad business.

Amazon crowed from the rooftops that it was going to bring 1,000 new jobs to Fort Wayne with this warehouse. Yes, for a short time it will bring in 1,000 jobs. But by destroying local businesses it may very well cost the city 3,000 jobs by driving local retailers out of business.

Then, when the warehouse is fully automated, Amazon may cut future jobs to fewer than 100 workers. So, we lose local businesses and wind up with a tiny number of workers, but at least we are stuck with a monolithic monopoly that doesn't pay taxes. Smart.

Fourth, this is exactly the kind of mindless giveaway that make people feel powerless.

Amazon has a value of nearly $2 trillion. Its primary owner, Jeff Bezos, is worth more than $200 billion. Why in God's name is this abomination of a request for our money even being considered?

We are hurtling to a future where a few ruthless monopolies will own everything. The City Council should not agree yet again with the modern mantra of politics, “Everything for they, the corporations, and nothing for we, the people.”

Any member of the City Council who would vote to rip off our community to further enrich a local business-destroying monopoly doesn't care about their constituents and has no business holding elected office.

Ric Rune-stad is owner of Runestad Financial Services. 

Subscribe to our newsletters

* indicates required