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Date: November 27, 2018
Contact: mediacenter@freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org

 

What Elected Officials In New York Are Saying About
Amazon’s HQ2 Decision

An agreement “reached behind closed doors and so far without local input.”

 

Local New York politicians are outraged over the agreement “reached behind closed doors and so far without local input.”
“Still, the agreement, reached behind closed doors and so far without local input, has angered officials. Part of the reason is that, according to the broad contours of the plan, the state and the city will bypass the City Council, which has the power to block rezoning and land-use measures. They will instead employ a state-level process previously used for large-scale development projects, such as Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Hudson Yards on the Far West Side of Manhattan.” (J. David Goodman, The New York Times, “Amazon Is Getting at Least $1.7 Billion to Come to Queens. Now Comes the Fight Over Whether It’s Worth It.,” 11.13.18)

New York State Senator Catharine Young: Upstate New York “families decimated by job losses and lack of opportunity” while Amazon gets billions.
“Today we received the devastating news that Erie County manufacturer New Era Cap will close its Derby plant in March, putting over 200 workers out on the street. Contrast this with today’s news from the other side of the state, that Long Island City in Queens will become the site of one of Amazon’s highly publicized ‘HQ2’ operations … Overburdened New York taxpayers, particularly those in upstate who are seeing their communities and families decimated by job losses and lack of opportunity, have every right to be outraged by this massive giveaway.” (Gloria Pazmino and Dana Rubinstein, POLITICO New York, “Cuomo, de Blasio ring in Amazon deal as critics weigh in,” 11.13.18)

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson: Why does Amazon need “$2 billion in public money for its expansion plans at a time when New York desperately needs money for affordable housing, transportation, infrastructure and education.”
“Amazon is one of the richest companies in the world, but you can’t put a price on community input, which has been missing throughout this entire process. I find that lack of engagement and the fact that the negotiations excluded the City Council – which is elected by New Yorkers to guide land use projects with communities in mind – extremely troubling. I also don’t understand why a company as rich as Amazon would need nearly $2 billion in public money for its expansion plans at a time when New York desperately needs money for affordable housing, transportation, infrastructure and education.” (Corey Johnson, “Statement by Speaker Corey Johnson Re: New York City’s Site Selection for Amazon HQ2,” 11.13.18)

State Senator Michael Gianaris and New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer: “We were not elected to serve as Amazon drones.”
“Corporate responsibility should take precedence over corporate welfare … We were not elected to serve as Amazon drones. It is incumbent on us to stand up on behalf of the people we represent and that’s what we intend to do.” (Jimmy Van Bramber Twitter, @JimmyVanBramer, 11.13.18)

United States Representative-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 7): Why does Amazon need billions “when our subway is crumbling and our communities need more investment.”
“Amazon is a billion-dollar company. The idea that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need more investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here.” (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Twitter, @Ocasio2018, 11.13.18)

New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim: Use the billions being offered to Amazon to cancel student debt.
“Instead of giving billions to #Amazon, if we use that money to #cancelstudentdebt, the ROI to our local economy (jobs, GDP, more circulation of wealth) would be tangibly greater.” (Ron Kim, Twitter, @ronkim, 11.13.18)

New York State Senator Michael Gianaris: “Amazon duped New York into offering” billions in corporate handouts.
“We are witness to a cynical game in which Amazon duped New York into offering unprecedented amounts of tax dollars to one of the wealthiest companies on Earth for a promise of jobs that would represent less than 3% of the jobs typically created in our city over a 10-year period.” (Thomas Barrabi, FOX Business, “Amazon ‘duped’ New York into ‘bad deal’ for new HQ, local politicians say,” 11.13.18)

New York State Senator Michael Gianaris: Amazon’s deal is shrouded in secrecy.
“There’s no discussion of what Amazon is going to do to help the city they want to set up shop in.” (New York Post Editorial Board, “New Yorkers deserve answers about Amazon’s plans,” 11.13.18)

New York State Senator-Elect Julia Salazar: Amazon is taking valuable resources that could be used for housing, education or infrastructure.
“Every year, American cities and states spend up to $90 billion in tax breaks and cash grants to urge companies to move among states. That’s more than the federal government spends on housing, education, or infrastructure.” (Julia Salazar, Twitter, @JuliaCarmel__, 11.13.18)

Senator Kristen Gillibrand: Amazon should not be receiving financial assistance
“While I’m glad that Amazon recognizes that Queens is a great place to do business, I’m concerned about the lack of community input and the incentives that Amazon received in order to convince them to bring these jobs to New York. One of the wealthiest companies in history should not be receiving financial assistance from the taxpayers while too many New York families struggle to make ends meet.” (Kristen Gillibrand, Twitter, @SenGillibrand, 11.14.18)

Senator Michael Gianaris and NYC Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer: Corporate welfare given to Amazon is wrong
“Offering massive corporate welfare from scarce public resources to one of the wealthiest corporations in the world at a time of great need in our state is just wrong. The burden should not be on the 99 percent to prove we are worthy of the 1 percent’s presence in our communities, but rather on Amazon to prove it would be a responsible corporate neighbor.” (Michael Gianaris and Jimmy Van Bramer, Yonkers Tribune, 11.11.18)

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