Multiple unions and New York politicians are tag-teaming in hopes of convincing Amazon to stick part of its HQ2 back in the Big Apple. They published an open letter in The New York Times today telling Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to reconsider pulling out of the original deal (emphasis mine).
New Yorkers do not want to give up on the 25,000 permanent jobs, 11,000 union construction and maintenance jobs, and $28billion in new tax revenues that Amazon was prepared to bring to our state. A clear majority of New Yorkers support this project and were disappointed by your decision not to proceed. We understand that becoming home to the world’s industry leader in e-commerce, logistics and web services would be a tremendous boost for our state’s technology industry, which is our fastest growing generator of new jobs. As representatives of a wide range of government, business, labor and community interests, we urge you to reconsider, so that we can move forward together.
We know the public debate that followed the announcement of the Long Island City project was rough and not very welcoming. Opinions are strong in New York—sometimes strident. We consider it part of the New York charm! But when we commit to a project as important as this, we figure out how to get it done in a way that works for everyone.
Governor Cuomo will take personal responsibility for the project’s state approval and Mayor de Blasio will work together with the governor to manage the community development process, including the workforce development, public education and infrastructure investments that are necessary to ensure that the Amazon campus will be a tremendous benefit to residents and small businesses in the surrounding communities.
The open letter is fresh on the heels of NYT reporting Cuomo has been calling Bezos multiple times like some jilted lover (which he kinda is, if you think about it) over the past couple weeks in hopes of resuscitating the deal (emphasis mine).
The governor has had multiple phone conversations with Amazon executives, including Mr. Bezos, over the past two weeks, according to two people with knowledge of the efforts. In those calls, Mr. Cuomo said he would navigate the company through the byzantine governmental process.
Mr. Cuomo did not offer a new location but rather guarantees of support for the project, one person said. Amazon executives gave no sense the company would reconsider.
This is probably one of the biggest indictments of a semi-centralized economy, and cronyism, I’ve ever seen.
You have a sitting governor – not to mention a mayor – tell the head of a corporation, “Don’t worry, we’ll help you get through our onerous permitting and regulatory nightmares,” showing maybe the problem isn’t big corporations – but the fact government makes it almost impossible for businesses to operate unless they “play the game.” It’s doubtful these two would be willing to offer similar ‘incentives’ for a small start-up looking to get into the product shipping game – because the return on investment is much, much lower.
Of course, Amazon is a-OK with getting government help, when it suits their fancy. Via John Stossel and Reason.
In all honesty, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was right to complain about the Amazon-NYC agreement although she’s a complete hypocrite because her Green New Deal is chock full of the business handouts she claims to be against. Amazon should be moving to New York City not because of the $3B in goodies they’re getting from the government but because they like the location itself – combined with fewer regulations and lower taxes. The fact Cuomo and de Blasio had to add to their promises shows maybe, just maybe, government is the problem.
It also shouldn’t be surprising to see the unions and some business owners trying to lure Amazon back to NYC. After all, they’re the ones who will more than likely benefit from the Amazon HQ2 project because Amazon will have to 1) use unionized workers to build the complex, 2) secure construction loans from a bank with a presence in NYC, and 3) put up their workers somewhere in town – meaning apartments or hotels. It’s a cornucopiatic orgasm of graft which is ‘legal’ because it doesn’t technically involve bribery (even though it totally does).
New York leaders, unions, and banks shouldn’t be lobbying Amazon to return to town with gobs of handouts. They should instead take a hard look at their own laws to see what changes need to be done to cut taxes, regulations, etc. for all businesses and individuals from Amazon to the guy on the street looking to wash someone’s windows. That way everyone has a fair shot, not just those with the ‘right’ connections.