New York Democrats may drive Amazon out of new Queens HQ

I’ve had questions about Amazon’s “contest” to pick a host city for their new headquarters from the beginning. The original pitch made it sound as if they might go to some smaller to middle-sized city that was down on its luck and in need of a major boost in jobs and commerce. Then they made the decision to put one of the big new commercial centers in… New York City. But as a resident of upstate New York, I couldn’t help but be a little grateful that so many new jobs might be coming to boost the economy.

All of that is now in danger of disappearing, however. After months of haggling and wrangling to establish a deal involving major tax breaks and accommodations, Democrats in New York City are complaining that the deal isn’t good enough, the tax breaks are too dangerous, and Amazon’s arrival might be damaging to the social justice crowd because it could lead to further “gentrification” of the area. And that has Governor Andrew Cuomo seeing red and going to war with his own party. (New York Post)

Online retail giant Amazon is reconsidering its plans to open a headquarters in Queens due to opposition from local lawmakers, according to a new report.

Executives at the company recently met to reassess setting up shop in Long Island City, as pols and activists continue to rail against the controversial new campus, the Washington Post reports, citing two people “familiar with the company’s thinking.”

“The question is whether it’s worth it if the politicians in New York don’t want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming,” one of the sources told the paper.

Some of these complaints are completely valid. The deal New York cut with Amazon is far beyond generous, including $2.5 billion in tax credits and $500 million in state construction subsidies. That hollows out the benefits of the new HQ in terms of municipal and state tax revenue considerably. You’d think they might have learned their lesson from what happened with IBM. They used to be a major (massive) employer in one upstate city until the company started outsourcing all their jobs to India and South America. The state gave them massive tax breaks to try to keep them around, gutting the local government’s budget and shifting to burden to the taxpayers, but the company wound up almost entirely leaving anyway.

Still, the other complaints about ruining “the culture” of the area seem absurd. That hasn’t stopped Democratic “superstar” AOC from giving her seal of approval to the objections, though. (Fox Business News)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez applauded news on Friday that Amazon is reportedly reconsidering its plans to build a second headquarters in New York City as it faces fierce opposition from some state and city officials.

“Can everyday people come together and effectively organize against creeping overreach of one of the world’s biggest corporations?” she wrote in a tweet. “Yes, they can.”

The New York Democrat, who represents the 14th Congressional District, has been a fierce critic of the e-commerce giant’s proposed second headquarters in Long Island City, a neighborhood in Queens.

AOC objects to the city and the state giving so much money to “the most valuable public company on the planet owned by the richest man in the world.” What she doesn’t seem to grasp is that the only reason Bezos is that wealthy is that he’s consistently made smart deals that worked to his benefit. Argue against the poor dealmaking done by city leaders all you like, but opposing Amazon coming to town and providing tens of thousands of jobs just because Bezos is a rich white guy is unproductive thinking.

In the end, if Amazon walks away from this project and moves to Tennessee or Virginia, New York’s liberal Democrats will have nobody to blame but themselves. It wasn’t a particularly well-crafted deal, but the jobs would be very real, primarily benefitting blue collar workers. These divisive identity politics are just biting the hand that’s trying to feed them at this point.

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Jazz Shaw 1:01 PM on May 27, 2023