Five-year grace period

The recent article, “Hey Alexa, tell Governor Wolf that Pa. is bigger than Pittsburgh and Philadelphia,” shows that Pennsylvanians outraged about the secrecy surrounding our state’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters have every reason to be deeply worried about what Governor Wolf has offered to the company’s executives behind closed doors.

Our government officials have written far too many blank checks to corporations in recent years at the expense of taxpayers and our local communities, but never before have we seen this level of deceit.

Recently, taxpayers found out that Pennsylvania officials signed non-disclosure agreements with Amazon that might keep the details of the corporate welfare offered by HQ2 secret for up to five years.

This might prove to be a savvy move for politicians in the event that Amazon chooses to build its second headquarters elsewhere, as they will have a five-year grace period before they have to face up to the massive tax breaks and economic incentives offered to the third-richest company in the world.

But it is terrible for hard working Pennsylvanians who have a right to know the lengths to which their lawmakers are willing to go attract corporations while small businesses in several industries struggle to survive.

Governor Wolf and other lawmakers defend this unprecedented lack of transparency by saying it makes Pennsylvania’s HQ2 bid more competitive. Well, if successfully courting a corporation means destroying public accountability, then taxpayers will never win.

Dick Harris