Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Nevada county considers allowing brothels to open for non-sexual escort services … Utah hospitals preparing to ration care … Maine town booms during pandemic.
Amazon received $741 million in tax incentives to build 36 warehouses around Chicago, an investigation by WBEZ and Better Government Association found. The examination of Amazon’s tactics in negotiating with local governments found that the online retail behemoth received far more in taxpayer-funded incentives in communities of color compared to majority-white communities. The three largest incentive packages Amazon got, adding up to $512 million, were from largely Black suburbs of Chicago. In comparison, Amazon got $100 million in public incentives to build 15 warehouses in white communities. One critic of a deal in the village of University Park noted that Amazon rushed the project through a secretive process, resulting in the company getting millions in taxes in coming years when the community is dealing with ongoing lead problems in the water system and crumbling roads. “You come home to a majority Black town, and there’s no grocery store, no life in the town center and crumbling streets. Amazon isn’t putting more police officers on the street. Amazon isn’t helping me with my taxes,” said Theo Brooks, a University Park trustee. An Amazon spokeswoman called the incentives a “standard practice when a company plans a large investment,” emphasizing that the Chicago warehouses created 23,000 jobs that pay at least $15 an hour. University Park Mayor Joseph Roudez said that the warehouse means that residents can now work in town instead of commuting out of town. [WBEZ]
BROTHEL TO ESCORT | With brothels closed due the pandemic, the Lyon County Board of Commissioners in Nevada is considering allowing non-sexual escort services. One brothel owner estimates that 500 people are out of work because of brothel closures in the county. Storey County’s World Famous Mustang Ranch Brothel in Storey County began offering escort services, which are not allowed to involve sex, in August. [Reno Gazette Journal]
ELECTION MASKS | Voters who go to the polls in Wisconsin can’t be required to wear masks, as only the state legislature is allowed to set voting rules. But poll watchers and workers can be required to mask up, said Elections Commission head Meagan Wolfe. [Wisconsin Public Radio]
RATIONED CARE | Utah hospitals are preparing to ration care to patients in critical care units in a week or two, sending Gov. Gary Herbert a list of criteria they are asking to use to decide which patients can stay if they become too taxed. Hebert has to approve the criteria. “The chief medical officers were very clear: They were asking us to be prepared for that,” said Joe Dougherty, spokesman for Utah’s Division of Emergency Management. [Salt Lake Tribune]
PANDEMIC BOOM | Home prices are up in the small Maine mountain town of Rangeley and school attendance has expanded as more people are flocking to the quiet area during the pandemic. Some of the influx are people who own second homes and are staying later in the year, looking to shelter from the coronavirus in an area with low rates. But some are cautioning that the boom could also force out some longtime residents if home prices rise too much. [Bangor Daily News]
Laura Maggi is the managing editor at Route Fifty.