Newark council formally OKs final incentives for Amazon — now it just needs to get e-commerce giant to take them

The Newark City Council passed enabling legislation Wednesday authorizing up to $2 billion in incentives previously announced as part of its campaign to bring Amazon’s second international headquarters to Newark.

Now it just needs Amazon to say it wants to come.

The move is procedural — but it also shows the depth of desire of Newark to land the second headquarters for the e-commerce giant.

More than that, it shows a commitment by the city to land another large company.

In the ordinance, Amazon must commit to creating at least 30,000 new jobs and create investments of at least $3 billion over a 20-year period to qualify for the incentives.

One ordinance authorizes creation of an accelerated process of land-use and permit approvals.

A second ordinance enables Amazon to receive a 100 percent payroll tax exemption for employees living in Newark and a 50 percent exemption for all other employees. The total payroll tax exemptions are capped at $1 billion over the life of the project.

A third ordinance creating an additional category of transformative headquarters within the long-term tax exemption ordinance also is expected to pass.

Mayor Ras Baraka said it’s another step in the ultimate goal of the city being able to lure the biggest of companies. In this case, Amazon.

“The city council has brought Newark a giant step closer to being Amazon’s choice for HQ2,” he said. “The creation of 12,500 jobs for Newark residents, the added revenue to Newark families plus the added revenue to the city of Newark, Newark Public Schools and Newark Public Library make HQ2 a game changer in the transformation of our city.”

Gov. Phil Murphy applauded the move.

“I am proud to stand by the strong leadership of Mayor Baraka and all who are speaking in a clear and unified voice that Newark is ready to lead and win the Amazon bid,” he said in a statement. “Let there be no doubt: We are all in this together, and Newark will continue to rise as one.”

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