Amazon has chosen Atlanta among its 20 finalists for the company's second headquarters.
The finalist list was culled from 238 cities that sent proposals to Jeff Bezos' online retail giant, which says the lucky winner will receive a $5 billion investment and 50,000 new jobs. Amazon last year announced plans to establish a second headquarters outside of its home in Seattle.
Along with Atlanta, the South was represented on the list by Nashville, Miami and Raleigh-Durham. Although it looks like a dark horse, the North Carolina tech center is considered a top contender by at least one publication.
Columbus, Ohio, was another surprise selection, although Ohio State gives the home of Wendy's hamburgers and the hometown of James Thurber and Jack Nicklaus a highly educated and industrious work force.
As with other finalist cities, the selection of Columbus would boost its surrounding region, from Cleveland to Cincinnati. Outside of its dynamic and growing state capital, Ohio like other "rust belt" states has suffered years of economic decline.
A similar Midwestern city, Indianapolis, also made the list. Indianapolis is close to Bloomington, home of Indiana University.
Heavyweights named include New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver and Toronto. Newark also made the list, and its selection would benefit New York City. Montgomery County, Md., and Northern Virginia, both in the Washington area, were also selected.
Although Nashvillle is four hours away from Atlanta, requiring climbing over a mountain, its selection would also help Atlanta, as would Durham-Raleigh. The size of Amazon's investment would have a regional impact that would reach down I-85 from the home of Duke and N.C. State and I-75 from Nashville. Chattanooga would be happy with the selection of either Nashville or Atlanta.
Los Angeles was the only West Coast city named, with San Francisco, San Diego and Palo Alto shunned. Nor did Bezos know the way to San Jose.
Dallas and Austin made the list, but not Houston. Nor did New Orleans, seen as a dark horse by some before the final cut. Detroit, reportedly undergoing a fitful recovery, was also left out.
The January announcement might disrupt the Georgia Legislature's schedule. Earlier, Gov. Nathan Deal said a special session would be the best way to come up with a package of incentives and infrastructure improvements to entice Amazon to Atlanta. Now, the Legislature might not be able to wait, but have to take action during the current session.
Gee, the Legislature might have to do some work in the first weeks of the session, rather than focusing most of its attention on beauty queens and high school sports champions. The Legislature does most of its business in the frenzied final weeks, when special interests benefit from hastily written legislation that receives less scrutiny during the rush. Giving attention to Amazon would require the Legislature to spread out its workload.
The possibility of Atlanta receiving Amazon might also put "religious liberty" bills in the deep freeze.
The Amazon announcement could also influence the Georgia governor's race, with the final city expected to be named this year. When that happens has not been reported, but if not done before November, gubernatorial candidates will seek to top each other making pledges to the company.
As Amazon made its announcement, Apple said it will also seek a second headquarters, although with fewer jobs. Atlanta was immediately mentioned as a contender for Apple.
Those tax concessions keep mounting. The poor teachers will never get a raise.