Local Politicians Respond to Amazon Announcement

Beverly Danquah, Features Editor

Three months after announcing a plan for a new headquarters in New York City, Amazon has abruptly canceled the project. The decision to back out of the plan that would have brought an estimated 25,000 jobs to the city has left some disappointed and others rejoicing.

Amazon faced unwavering opposition from some local lawmakers who were unhappy with the almost $3 billion in tax incentives Amazon was guaranteed.

In addition to the jobs they intended to bring, the web-based company planned to spend $2.5 billion building its new offices. They also planned to invest in the surrounding community with intentions of building a primary or intermediary public school.

In response to the decision, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said “We all want jobs to come to Queens, and Amazon used the promise of job creation to extract major concessions for this project…They rejected our values of supporting working people and were unwilling to work with our local communities toward a mutually beneficial resolution.

New York has the best tech work force in the nation, much of which is here in Queens, so if Amazon wants to take their jobs somewhere else with a lesser work force so they can undercut wages and workers’ rights, that’s their choice.”

Senate Deputy Leader, Michael Gianaris, echoed a similar sentiment in a statement.

“Today’s behavior by Amazon shows why they would have been a bad partner for New York in any event,” he said. “Rather than seriously engage with the community they proposed to profoundly change, Amazon continued its effort to shakedown governments to get its way. It is time for a national dialogue about the perils of these types of corporate subsidies.”

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared victory after Amazon’s announcement.

“Today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers and their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation and the power of the richest man in the world,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

On Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on Capitol Hill, “If we were willing to give away away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest $3 billion in our district ourselves if we want to. We could hire more teachers, we can fix our subways, we can put a lot of people to work for that money if we wanted to… there was no guarantee those jobs for the New Yorkers that were here. We were looking at a deal that was not primarily putting the community first.”

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, expressed regret on Amazon’s decision via Twitter.

“Disappointed that NYC won’t be home to 25K+ new jobs from HQ2 & that LIC will lose out on infrastructure improvements that would have accompanied this project,” she tweeted. “This is not the Valentine that NY needed.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Amazon threw away an opportunity to work with the community.

“You have to be tough to make it in New York City… If Amazon can’t recognize what that’s worth, its competitors will,” de Blasio said.