Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Columnist: Amazon should consider rural areas

As corporate giant Amazon seeks a home for its second headquarters, Blue State cities large and small are offering sometimes outlandish perks and performing weird publicity stunts to catch CEO Jeff Bezos' eye. But he shouldn't overlook rural America, Midwestern author Zachary Michael Jack writes for The Daily Yonder.

Not many heavily rural states have thrown their hats in the ring, but they have much to offer. "Of the seven states who reportedly opted out of the Amazon sweepstakes, four—Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, are among the most rural and Republican—in other words, not Amazon-friendly territory at first glance. And yet a 2011 report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks three of those states (North Dakota, Wyoming, and South Dakota) among the top five growth performers nationwide," Jack writes. And some of those rural states are very well run, financially speaking: "According to the latest figures, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota continue to boast the lowest foreclosure ratings in the nation, a calling card that speaks not just to their affordable housing, but to their fiscal discipline and economic stability."

Bezos has said he needs plenty of available affordable housing, proximity to major highways, airports, and a major research university. But Jack says he should specifically invite applications from Great Plains and Intermountain rural states, because their citizens have a high work ethic, low rates of absenteeism, and high civic participation and volunteerism, while the cities and towns themselves have a lower cost of living, plenty of affordable housing, and proximity to outdoor recreation and natural resources. Moreover, locating an Amazon headquarters in a largely rural area could be a game-changer for the entire region, stopping the drain of college-educated natives and increasing local commerce.

No comments: