VALLAS’ STATEMENT: 

“Without a doubt, Amazon made the wrong decision by not picking Chicago for HQ2. As the recent Crain’s story illustrated that Chicago should have been the ideal site. With our geographic location, our affordable and educated workforce, our rich institutions of higher learning, the City’s current affordability, we should have been a shoe-in.

“Yet, we were rejected. Why? Could it be the precarious financial condition of the City, the City’s high crime rate, the shrinking school system, the lead in the water, the prospect for additional draconian tax and fee increases, our corrupt “pay-to-play” culture?

“The Amazon decision drives home the point that the City is in need of a long term financial plan that restores the City’s financial health, while investing in the things that will stabilize and grow all communities. Chief among these is an economic development strategy that helps the 80% of the City that has seen no investment and in many areas significant disinvestment and decline in wealth. These areas dominate the West and South sides.

“Chicago and the State of Illinois were willing to commit $2.25 billion in incentives to Amazon. I will continue to rally the Amazon coalition of more than 600 business, civic and community leaders to pursue alternate investment strategies with both corporate and grassroots partners. Together, we must leverage once-in-lifetime federal tax incentives affordable through the Opportunity Zone Program with the fair share allocation of Chicago’s TIF funds to provide the needed capital investment that these communities have long needed and support this investment with the type of state and City incentives that were part of the $2.25 billion Amazon incentive package.”