Greg LeRoy: Talent pool more important to businesses than tax incentives

Good Jobs First’s Greg LeRoy has been featured prominently in recent media coverage around the Amazon announcement that it’s seeking a site for a new headquarters.

LeRoy, who will be the keynote speaker at OpenSky’s Fall Policy Symposium next Thursday (Sept. 21), is one of the nation’s foremost experts on business incentives and has been quoted in several media stories regarding the role business incentives might play in Amazon’s location decision.

In this Sept. 12 story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, LeRoy said he doesn’t believe business incentives will be a major factor for Amazon as state and local taxes typically only make up about 2 percent of company’s cost structure.

“Incentives are almost never determinative of where companies expand or relocate because they’re too small,” LeRoy said.

The key factor in securing the new headquarters and the thousands of new jobs that will come with it, LeRoy said, will be access to plentiful workforce talent.

“If you’re going to hire that many people, you need a really big labor market,” LeRoy said, adding that if he were advising a mayor looking to land Amazon’s new headquarters, “The only thing I would focus on is the executive talent pool.”

During his presentation at our symposium next week, which will start at 11:15 a.m., LeRoy will discuss the research he and Good Jobs First do regarding business incentives. Reserve your seat for the symposium, which will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Graduate in Lincoln.

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