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Fort Wayne City Council rejects Amazon’s request for $7.3M machinery tax abatement

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) -- UPDATE: The Fort Wayne City Council rejected Amazon's request for a $7.3 million dollar tax abatement during a meeting Tuesday night. Fort Wayne's NBC News spoke with Councilwoman Sharon Tucker after the vote.

"I don't believe that the abatement was warranted. I believe that the company as a whole has the financial means. I personally use the abatement as a tool to help spur economic development in situations where economic development would not be realized otherwise," she said.

Tucker says she welcomes Amazon, and the one thousand jobs the center is expected to create. She also says she is confident this won't slow down the company's plans to get the Fort Wayne distribution center up and running. You'll remember the council already awarded the company a $16 million dollar tax abatement this spring for the facility's construction.

Previous Reporting FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) -- Should one of the richest companies in all the world get a $7 million tax break from Fort Wayne?

City council is hearing from unions, neighbors, and others about the request to avoid paying some local taxes.

"I can't order something off of Amazon, receive it, use it for a couple of months and then say hey, I've got a promo code. And essentially that's what they're asking us to do here," City Councilman Russ Jehl said.

Jehl says he opposes Amazon's request for a $7.3 million tax abatement on the machinery that will go in its fulfillment center off U.S. 30 and Flaugh Road.

He says tax abatements are supposed to be incentives for companies to invest in the Summit City.

"For me, the important thing is to ask whether or not this is creating a development that otherwise might not occur, or if you're just simply giving away the public's money as a sweetener. And I'm not comfortable with that," he said.

He says Amazon is already committed to what was billed as Project Mastodon -- investing $100 million into the 630,000 square foot facility and creating 1,000 jobs.

"$7.3 million is a drop in the bucket for Amazon. $21 billion in profit last year," Teamsters Local 414's Ehren Gerdes said.

Gerdes is speaking at city council's meeting against the abatement request.

He says Amazon's track record of low wages and high rate of injury for its employees shouldn't merit getting a tax break.

"The tax dollars in Fort Wayne don't need to go to a company like Bezos runs so he can go to outer space," he said.

City council already awarded Amazon a $16 million tax abatement this spring for the facility's construction.

After the public hearing, council is expected to take a final vote on the requested tax abatement.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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