Last Friday we wrote that we welcomed the discussion of what makes a place business-friendly that would be launched by Amazon’s announced search for a second headquarters location. In the days since, the conversation has begun. A sampling:
The Seattle Times editorial board writes that “the end of Amazon’s Seattle monogamy should be lesson to civic leaders.”
…there’s no mistaking this is a distressing wake-up call. Especially Amazon’s newfound indifference to Seattle remaining its primary headquarters.
State and local government and business leaders must respond by assuring Amazon, other large employers and entrepreneurs that Greater Seattle still has the capacity, talent and desire to enable their companies’ growth…
Seattle’s current political leaders must recognize that poor planning and anti-business posturing come with a heavy price. Their politicking creates uncertainty for job creators and was a factor in Amazon’s decision to look elsewhere to expand.
The Association of Washington Business has rounded up a number of stories on the competition and what it might mean for state and local officials here.
The news immediately set off alarm bells for lawmakers and observers, who noted that one qualification the company had for its new HQ2 was a place with “a stable and business-friendly environment.”
Seattle, where tax talk has included a so-called “Amazon tax” on employee headcount, is losing the battle for competitiveness, many observers said…
The Lens reports some reactions, including two state lawmakers:
State lawmakers such as Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-36) reacted optimistically, writing on Facebook that “Given the company and our city growth, I don’t view a second HQ as a negative in any fashion. I welcome the healthy diversification. We’re a grown up global city and we thrive on the energy of change.”
However, state House Minority Leader JT Wilcox (R-2) wrote in a Facebook post that “the basic assumptions around the Washington economy just changed. A rapid expansion in a second HQ, as the announcement seems to indicate, means that one of the greatest engines for economic growth known to history will be growing somewhere else.”
The Seattle Times also gathers some pundit commentary and considers the complications of implementing a dual-headquarter model.
Washington is not giving up on landing the second headquarters. The Seattle Times reports state officials are considering their options. But they have concerns.
Regardless, it would be difficult to find a spot in Washington to match Amazon’s ambitions for a second headquarters, according to Joseph Williams, director of tech industry economic development for the state Department of Commerce.
For starters, there’s the challenge of finding enough tech workers or other qualified professionals to fill it.
“We’d be dipping into the exact same talent pool we’re already dipping into,” said Williams, a former Microsoft executive and Inslee’s lead on tech issues.
And if the state needed another reminder that policies matter, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports on a warning from an aerospace leader.
A leading aerospace industry expert delivered a sobering message to Washington state’s top executives last week: ditch the arrogance and entitlement or you’ll lose jobs.
Captain, a long-time Puget Sound area resident, made the remarks during a presentation about the competitiveness of Washington state’s aerospace sector during the Aerospace Futures Alliance annual summit Sept. 7.
“Other states and countries are competing fiercely for what we take for granted here,” Captain said. “We can lose and we have lost.”
The conversations will continue. That’s probably a good thing.