"In total, three states (Virginia, New York, and Tennessee) and three cities (Arlington, New York City, and Nashville) approved $4.2 billion in subsidies to sway Amazon’s HQ2 decision. But Amazon’s press release announcing the decision, as well as later interviews by company officials, make it clear that talented workers, not subsidies, were the deciding factor.
Our research has shown that instead of those subsidies, the states could have funded a combined 14,000 full-tuition scholarships to state universities for 15 years. In addition, the cities could have improved public safety by adding a combined 400 police officers or paid for the education expenses for over 2,500 public school students for the same amount of time. Alternatively, the states and cities could have lowered corporate tax rates to encourage business growth across the board."