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Amid Amazon HQ Contest, Kasich Says Ohio Doesn't Use Tax Incentives to 'Buy Deals'

photo of Amazon data center
Amazon's three data centers in Hilliard, Dublin and New Albany opened one year ago. The data centers are part of Amazon Web Services, which primarily serves corporate customers.

Several Ohio cities put in bids with Amazon for its second headquarters, complete with offers of tax breaks. But Gov. John Kasich maintains, while he’s hoping high-tech firms are looking at Ohio, the state does not “buy deals.” Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler talked with Kasich about luring technology companies to the state.

Facebook’s Columbus-area data center will create about 100 jobs, with $37 million in state and local tax incentives. Three Amazon data centers in Ohio will create 120 jobs with $82 million in state and local tax incentives. Kasich said the state calculates a return on investment before offering incentives to companies.

“If they do not pay back the investment of the state over a reasonable period of time, ... we don’t offer them the deal. And we don’t get in a race with other states to buy deals," Kasich said.

Though he didn’t elaborate on the return-on-investment formula, he cited the deal offered by Ohio to Foxconn. Kasich said it was a third of what Wisconsin offered, which was nearly $3 billion in incentives.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.