Pittsburgh has made its bid. A decision from Amazon awaits on where the mega-retailer will build its $5 billion, 50,000-job second headquarters.

Yet more than a month after 238 bids for Amazon’s “HQ2” were submitted, Pittsburgh and Allegheny County officials remain mum on the details of their offer. An open-records request from the Trib under the state’s Right-to-Know Law has been denied.

It’s not as if Pittsburgh’s deal at this point can be undone. Or can it? Meanwhile at least 30 bids for Amazon’s second headquarters reportedly have been made public, including New Jersey’s $7 billion offer for a Newark location and Georgia’s $1 billion sweetener if Amazon chooses Atlanta.

All we know as to any monetary incentive comes from Philadelphia’s Chamber of Commerce, which in October said the state’s share of the incentive to attract Amazon could top $1 billion. As for Pittsburgh’s end of the bargain, officials initially cited a confidentiality agreement with Amazon when the bid was submitted. Now we’re told the details must remain under wraps to protect Pittsburgh’s competitive advantage.

Companies like Amazon expect “a candidness in the conversation,” according to a joint statement issued by Pittsburgh officials. And taxpayers who’ll pay the freight should expect less?

There is a time for negotiation and, in due respect to the public, a time for full disclosure. That time has passed. Silence is not golden when the “gold” at stake is the public’s.

—The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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