What They’re Saying! New York City Council Members Grill Amazon Executives On How Local Communities Will Be Impacted By HQ2

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Date: January 31, 2019
Contact: mediacenter@freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org

What They’re Saying!
New York City Council Members Grill Amazon Executives On How Local Communities Will Be Impacted By HQ2

“This seems like vulture, monopolistic capitalism at its worst.”

During tense hearing, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson criticized the lack of oversight that has been applied to the proposed deal.

“In this case, the deal was done backwards. The City and State made a deal with HQ2 in Long Island City and agreed to give away at least $3 billion in public subsidy before they did their due diligence?” (TechCrunch, “ NYC Council questions tax breaks and economic impact of Amazon HQ2,” Brian Hester, 1.30.19)

Council Member Daniel Dromm echoed concerns that Amazon has not provided New Yorkers with sufficient answers on how their local communities will be impacted.

“Neither evaluation accounted for any cost of impacts accommodating Amazon’s growth in the city. People will need to be housed, educated, transported and protected. How much will that cost?” (LIC Post, “Council Members Question City’s ‘Bang for Its Buck’ in Amazon HQ2 Deal at Second Oversight Hearing,” Nathaly Pesantez, 1.30.19)

Council Member Jumaane Williams argued that gambling away taxpayer dollars behind closed doors puts New Yorkers at risk.

“Neither Amazon nor the City gave a satisfactory answer today to the fundamental questions:  Why does Amazon need our money, and why did we offer it to them? In this secret deal, why did the administration sell New Yorkers out?” (Official Statement, Office of Council Member Jumaane Williams, 1.30.19)

Shedding light on dangers that giving massive tax breaks to Amazon could pose for local Queens communities, Speaker Johnson says Amazon represents “monopolistic capitalism at its worst.”  

“Why do you need our money? We have 63,000 people sleeping in homeless shelters in New York City, we have subways that are falling apart, we have schools that aren’t getting the money they deserve…This seems like vulture, monopolistic capitalism at its worst.” (Curbed New York, “City Council spars with Amazon, EDC over HQ2 cost concerns,” Caroline Spivack, 1.30.19)

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer says local Queens residents unhappy with Amazon’s failing charm offensive.

“Amazon is apparently spending millions on these flyers. My advice to you, on behalf of my constituents, is stop sending them. They are not working. Opposition is only growing.” (QNS, “Second City Hall hearing over Amazon HQ2 plan in Queens features more fireworks than first,” Bill Parry, 1.30.19)

After Amazon offers veiled threat on HQ2, Council Member Van Bramer calls on lawmakers to reconsider moving forward on deal.

What’s been little spoken about is that both sides have an opt-out clause in this deal, so why doesn’t the city opt out now?” (City & State, “Amazon’s skimpy favors for the community infuriate City Council critics,” Annie McDonough, 1.30.19)



The Free & Fair Markets Initiative (FFMI) is a non-profit coalition of businesses, consumer advocacy groups, workers and community activists committed to scrutinizing and highlighting emerging market trends that are stifling competition and innovation, influencing federal and local government spending, putting consumer data in harm’s way and limiting consumer choice. For a list of members, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org/about-us/members/. For more information on the Free & Fair Markets Initiative, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org.

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