FILE - Amazon

Chicago has been named one of 20 finalist cities to host Amazon's second headquarters, the company announced Thursday.

Chicago was among more than 200 North American cities that sent in proposals last year to host the online retail giant's second headquarters.

"We are delighted to be among the competitors in the next stage of Amazon’s HQ2 search," Gov. Bruce Rauner said in a statement. "We are ready to show the company why we believe the Chicago area is their best option."

At a news conference later Thursday morning, Rauner cautioned that Illinos still has work to do.

“I think we'll have a better case to make to Amazon if we show that we are disciplined about our taxes and work to keep our taxes down,” the governor said. “If we make progress in this, it will send a great message to Amazon that Illinois is not just about raising taxes with a corrupt system.”

Illinois has among the highest property taxes in the country and one report says it has the highest combined local and state tax burden in the U.S.

Rep. Jim Durkin, the House Minority Leader, said if Amazon chooses Chicago, it would help boost the state's economy.

"This is a great first step towards bringing Amazon to Illinois in a move that will create thousands of jobs and boost our economy," Durkin, R-Western Springs, said. "We look forward to continuing this process to showcase the best features Illinois has to offer for businesses."

Earlier Thursday, Amazon tweeted out the news.

“Today we are announcing the communities that will proceed to the next step in the HQ2 process," Amazon said. "Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough — all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity.”

Some surprises that were on the finalist list included Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio. Others that were seen as front-runners were left off, including Detroit, San Diego, San Francisco and Phoenix.  

St. Louis, which received the support of some of its Illinois suburbs, was not selected.

The other 19 finalists, according to Amazon, are:

Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; Montgomery County, Md.; Nashville, Tenn.; Northern Virginia; Newark, N.J.; New York City; Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Raleigh, N.C.; Toronto; and Washington, D.C.

Cities across the country offered billions of dollars in tax incentives in an effort to woo the company. Chicago reportedly offered the company more than $2 billion in incentives. 

Many have criticized giving incentives to one of the world’s most valuable companies, calling it corporate welfare.

Amazon is based in Seattle. It said it would choose the location for its second headquarters some time in 2018.


Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois government and statewide issues for INN. Lauterbach has managed and produced shows for news/talk radio stations in both Bloomington/Normal and Peoria, and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.


Dan McCaleb is a veteran editor and has worked in journalism for more than 25 years. Most recently, McCaleb served as editorial director of Shaw Media and the top editor of the award-winning Northwest Herald in suburban McHenry County.

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