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Report: Cities Buying From Amazon Hurts Local Retailers, Public

People have been increasingly looking to buy stuff online, and that often means making their purchases on Amazon. But a new report argues cities and school districts across the country’s online buying is hurting the public.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance looked at a contract between Amazon and U.S. Communities, which helps facilitate public agencies joining up in purchasing contracts.

The institute estimates 1,500 cities and school districts have signed on so far, although those that do are not required to only buy their supplies through Amazon. Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and she came on The Show to talk about the report

The Show also reached out to Amazon for comment and got the following statement:

"In September of 2016, Prince William County Public Schools issued a formal request for proposals (RFP), subject to full and open competition, for an online marketplace covering ten purchase categories. Amazon Business was one of 12 suppliers that responded and, after formal evaluation, which included performance and cost criteria, we were awarded the contract. As a result, we signed a multi-year contract whereby U.S. Communities-participating agencies can now take advantage of Amazon Business’ dynamic marketplace pricing, helping to ensure competitiveness and best-value pricing for education and public sector organizations.

The competitively-solicited contract helps education and public sector organizations purchase directly from the Amazon Business marketplace, which includes small, local and socioeconomically diverse businesses. More than 90,000 public sector organizations, from individual schools to school districts to higher education institutions across the nation, can now access multiple purchasing categories in an online marketplace, as well as be confident that they are receiving dynamic and competitive pricing. We have seen great progress to date and look forward to continuing to work with Prince William County Public Schools and U.S. Communities."

Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.