EDITORIAL: Cicilline Lives in the Past While MA is Adding More Than 2,500 Amazon Jobs

Friday, July 21, 2017


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Congressman David Cicilline

While Rhode Island’s Congressman David Cicilline is hyperventilating over Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, Massachusetts is cleaning up with thousands of new jobs from what may be one of the smartest companies in America.

Our Congressman announced he wants to investigate and potentially block the purchase by online retailer Amazon of the always underperforming public company Whole Foods. Big company buys another big company for more than $13.7 billion. It is hard to see an anti-trust issue when it is two entirely different retail sectors.  

In a vaguely incoherent, anti-business rant Cicilline claims “Competition is essential for a healthy economy. That’s true across the board. Amazon’s proposed purchase of Whole Foods could impact neighborhood grocery stores and hardworking consumers across America,” said Cicilline. “Congress has a responsibility to fully scrutinize this merger before it goes ahead. Failing to do so is a disservice to our constituents.” 

The problem with the foundation of Cicilline’s claim is that Whole Foods is not a neighborhood grocer and there are very few neighborhood grocers in New England. Is Cicilline worried about Dutch Ahold - the parent company of Stop & Shop?  Cicilline has had little to say about much bigger mergers — especially those that are donors to his campaign. 

Look North

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, the economic development pros continue to clean up and add thousands of new jobs with little or no incentives. Most recently, Amazon announced 900 new tech positions in the Boston Seaport.

The incentive they received in Boston was nothing. The Boston jobs are just the latest in Amazon's investment in Massachusetts.

In October of 2016, Amazon opened a mega warehouse facility in Fall River and is hiring nearly 1,600 workers. Amazon did receive incentives to locate in the economically depressed Fall River.

Combined, the Commonwealth has grown their economy by more than 2,500 new jobs — a combination of high tech, high skill positions in Boston and lower skill, blue collar positions in the job starved Fall River area.

I doubt that Amazon or any other businesses will see Cicilline’s anti-growth position as anything another than the reaffirmation that Rhode Island is a terrible place to grow or locate your business.


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