Colorado governor: 'We're never going to offer $7 billion of incentives' to win Amazon HQ2 bid

  • Denver is one of dozens of U.S. cities vying to be Amazon's second headquarters.
  • Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper touted the state's universities, engineering talent and commitment to the environment.
  • The commonly cited drawbacks — crumbling infrastructure, chief among them — are actively seeing improvement, he said.

The governor of Colorado sees a unique selling point in Denver's bid for Amazon's second headquarters: the same "can-do" western attitude as the e-commerce giant.

"Look at how Denver and Colorado have recreated ourselves in the last 10 or 15 years as the most pro-business state in America," Governor John Hickenlooper told CNBC's "Power Lunch" Wednesday.

Hickenlooper, for his part, founded a Denver-based brewery and is considered a pro-business Democrat. But his state's bid for a new Amazon headquarters is comparatively light on tax incentives.

"We're never going to offer $7 billion of incentives," Hickenlooper said, referencing a high-priced bid from New Jersey.

"This is one of the most desired locations for young professionals in America," he said. "And over the long term, that's going to be much more powerful — whether [Amazon gets] a puny billion dollars here or billion dollars there."

Hickenlooper touted the state's universities, engineering talent and commitment to the environment — just a few of the positive factors that bumped Denver to a C+ grade on CNBC's report card.

The commonly cited drawbacks — crumbling infrastructure, chief among them — are actively seeing improvement, he said.

--CNBC's Scott Cohn contributed to this report.

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