Axon Wants You to Subsidize It? Seriously?

Our readers know the deal about Axon by now; it is threatening to take their ball (in this case, their headquarters) and go to a new home if it doesn’t get what it wants, in this case nearly 2,000 apartments plopped right into North Scottsdale. Perhaps you read our piece related to its more recent threats during its quarterly financial results call (read it here).

One aspect we didn’t bring up in that piece is just how well the company is doing financially. The stock jumped over 15% last week as the results of its most recent quarterly filing hit the markets, and it was a doozy. It brought in over $57 million in net income for Q4 2023 alone, a nearly 100% increase from the same quarter in 2022. The results were so unexpectedly good that its stock had the biggest single-day jump since 2020.

Now mind you, this is after it is in line to receive some $12 million from the taxpayers of Scottsdale in order to incentivize it to stay in 2020. And while using taxpayer funds to reward a company for doing business in your municipality is never ideal, it could be somewhat justified as Axon HAD been a good corporate neighbor; “had” being the operative word.

Only four years ago, it went hat-in-hand, and now it wants more and more accommodations. As a reminder, the parcel of land which it originally purchased from the Arizona State Land Department under the guise of it being used for additional office space; doing so allowed them to purchase it at a lower cost than if it had been purchased for residential uses from the start. Since the pandemic it has decided to do an about-face and switch the use for the parcel, likely saving a massive amount of money in the process.

Coming back to the $57 million in net income for the quarter…will it use that to pay down the original $12 million in taxpayer subsidies? Will it pay the state for the different in the value of the land for residential usage versus office space usage? Highly unlikely. Axon appears to be attempting to play the game of private gain and public risk, of the transfer of taxpayer dollars to its bottom line, and enough is enough.

Any corporation is going to do whatever it can to maximize shareholder value; that is their job as a publicly traded company. But leave the taxpayer out of it. Axon is making money hand over fist, it doesn’t need to be propped up by us, or subsidized further by changing the rules to allow for the biggest apartment project in Scottsdale history.