Amazon abandons HQ plans in NYC: A win for AOC and a black eye for Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio – Washington Examiner
Amazon has abandoned its plans to set up part of its second headquarters in New York City, citing fierce opposition from state and local lawmakers.
This is a political triumph for state Sen. Michael Gianaris, D-Queens, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. It’s also a big defeat for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, both of whom had offered the online retailer the moon and the stars to set up shop in the Big Apple.
Then again, maybe “triumph” should come with an asterisk next to it. Gianaris and Ocasio-Cortez may have gotten their way, besting far more powerful political figures, but at the cost of the estimated 25,000 jobs that the Amazon deal was projected to bring to their part of the city.
“After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens,” Amazon announced Thursday in a statement.
It added, “While polls show that 70 percent of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, 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 with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who has denounced the deal repeatedly, took a victory lap Thursday.
“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,” her office bragged on social media.
It’s unclear where the 25,000 jobs are going to go. Amazon may decide to double up on its investment in Crystal City, Va., but it may also send the jobs out toward Nashville.
At any rate, despite the massive corporate welfare involved, New York never really made sense in the first place, aside from the possible benefits from cozying up to Wall Street. The city has oppressively high taxes, terrible commutes, terrible public transportation, limited living space, insanely high cost of living for workers (meaning the company would have to pay more and they’d still be poorer), and aggressively anti-business lawmakers.
Amazon would be better off setting up basically anywhere else in the U.S. Maybe it should try one of those down-on-its-luck Midwest towns, or a right-to-work state with no income tax. Lord knows some of those towns could use a major economic boost like an Amazon headquarters.
Cuomo and de Blasio must be furious to see that their efforts to court Amazon have gone up in smoke. Given the immensity of their $3 billion package they just offered the company, only to be rebuffed, they look pretty dumb and desperate. In the future, companies looking at New York have every reason to make greedy demands. The deal had been clouded in such secrecy, and it appeared to award Amazon such disproportionately lucrative incentives to the number of jobs it promised to bring to the area, that it fed the already bake-in opposition from state officials. Cuomo tried his best to keep fellow Democrats in line, but it was no use.
When it was first reported that Amazon was considering backing out of New York City, the governor tried to downplay the opposition to it, telling the Washington Post that it was coming from a “very small group of politicians who are pandering.”
That supposedly “very small group” includes Gianaris, who serves on the state board that has final say on approving the Amazon deal. Gianaris was joined in his very vocal opposition to the deal by a number of community activists and municipal officials.
“The problem is the state Senate has adopted that position, and that’s what could stop Amazon. And if they do, I would not want to be a Democratic senator coming back to my district to explain why Amazon left,” Cuomo said in a failed attempt to calm Amazon’s nerves.
On Thursday, after Amazon has announced its withdrawal from the deal, the governor really let loose.
“[A] small group [of] politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community — which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City — the state’s economic future and the best interests of the people of this state,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity.”
And to think it was just days earlier that governor said in defense of the deal, “You want to diversify your economy? You don’t want to just be Wall Street and finance? We need Amazon.”
Perhaps. But it looks like Amazon doesn’t need you, Cuomo.