Amazon: ‘No, Arizona, we don’t want your 21-foot cactus — just tax breaks, money and free land please’

Apparently you do look a gift horse in the mouth — when said horse comes bearing a 21-foot Saguaro cactus.

Seattle e-commerce giant Amazon, which has put out a call for proposals from cities and regions hoping to house the company’s planned $5 billion new second headquarters, turned up its nose at a thoughtful gift from Southern Arizona’s economic development group.

The Saguaro cactus that Amazon didn’t want (courtesy of Sun Corridor)

That organization, Sun Corridor, is putting together a proposal to locate the headquarters in southern Arizona, and sought to curry favor with CEO Jeff Bezos by sending along a botanical treasure typical to the region: a two-story Saguaro.

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“We wanted to make sure Mr. Bezos and his team notice us and send a message of, ‘We have room for you to grow here for the long term,’” Sun Corridor CEO Joe Snell said. “Nothing signifies that better than a Saguaro.”

Truer words were never said, Joe.

But that didn’t seem to matter to Amazon.

“Unfortunately we can’t accept gifts (even really cool ones),” the company tweeted Sept. 19.

Now, that’s not really true. Amazon may not want a monstrous, prickly desert plant, but it’s looking for all kinds of gifts from whatever city or region submits the winning proposal.

Amazon has outlined a number of ways that generous local taxpayers in possible headquarters locations could help out the $466 billion company. Incentives, the company said in its request for proposals, could include tax credits or tax exemptions, grants (aka free money), fee reductions and of course free land.

“Ideally, your submittal includes a total value of incentives,” the request said.

As for the gift cactus, Amazon donated it to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which had this to tweet:

“We are really excited to receive our prickly present!”

Now that’s gratitude.

 

Photo: Somebody get this man a cactus! Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

 

Tags: Arizona, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, cactus, grants, headquarters, land, Saguaro, tax breaks

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