On Wednesday it was announced that Pittsburgh's Amazon bid is going public after the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records ruled it can't be kept secret. But the city of Cleveland is still deciding if any of its Amazon proposal can be released.
Last fall when we asked officials for a copy of the bid, the city of Cleveland told us: "The requested records are proprietary and a "trade secret" of the City..."
On Thursday, the city told us by phone that they are looking through the documents to see IF anything is releasable. That’s the same thing they told us when I showed up at City Hall last week…after they refused to call me back.
When we asked if someone is CURRENTLY looking through the documents, they said they would have to check and get back with us. We’re still waiting for a reply.
So, why does any of this matter? Well, taxpayers have a right to know if, for instance, the city of Cleveland paid a marketing firm $140 thousand dollars, like Washington D.C. did.
Or offered $5 BILLION dollars in economic incentives, like the state of Maryland.
Maybe they promised to let Amazon recoup $1.3 BILLION in income-tax diversion like Chicago did.
All of those were revealed through open record requests and transparency efforts by public officials. And all of those could impact how much residents would pay in taxes. Which potentially amounts to "Taxation Without Investigation".
Given all the information -- how do you feel? Do you think the city of Cleveland should release its bid to land Amazon's HQ2?