After months of talks, Amazon announced back in February that they were no longer going to build a corporate campus in New York City. The headquarters, which would have created more than 25,000 jobs in Queens, was met with backlash from activists, lawmakers and union leaders. These actions could be coming back to bite some of those people in next year’s elections.
Why would New York lawmakers and city officials have a problem with Amazon creating so many jobs in the area? The company was going to receive almost $3 billion in tax breaks from the government.
The tax breaks, which many people referred to as an incentive, would have allowed Amazon to receive $1.2 billion alone in refundable tax credits. This would have been given to them through New York State’s Excelsior Jobs Program as long as they kept up their promise to create 25,000 new jobs in the area by June 2028.
Amazon would have also gotten a $505 million capital grant from the city to make up for the cost to build the new office space in Queens. Another $900 million was going to come from New York City’s Relocation and Employment Assistance Program, as well as the Industrial and Commercial Abatement Program. These tax breaks were not specifically being offered to just Amazon, they are available to any business in the area that qualifies.
When Amazon announced that they would no longer be coming to NYC they issued a statement, part of which said, “A number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward.” Opponents were thrilled.
One of the loudest opponents to Amazon coming to NYC was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), but she had plenty of other Democratic locals backing her up, and those people now have to sleep in the bed they’ve made.
Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world. https://t.co/nyvm5vtH9k
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 14, 2019
The problem with Amazon changing its mind about opening a location in Queens is that a lot of the local people wanted the opportunity to work there and saw how it would benefit their community.
What the People Want
A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 57% of people in New York City and 60% of people in Queens wanted Amazon to open a new campus in the area, and 55% of the people in Queens even supported the incentive package.
Former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said it best:
“At the end of the day, those people who are the most vociferous in their opposition to these important projects are not speaking for the majority of New Yorkers who want new jobs and more mixed-income housing. I think this is fantastic that this is going to be an issue in the next election. It should be.”
There are three anti-Amazon politicians: City Council Member Donovan Richards, City Council Member Fernando Cabrera and State Senator Mike Gianaris, who are all going up against opponents who supported the Amazon deal. Hopefully, they’re about to learn a hard lesson from the voters about not listening to what the people really want.
Copyright 2019, UnitedVoice.com