Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Amazon might be reconsidering its second headquarters in NY

Amazon rethinks plan for New York HQ amid fierce opposition, report says Amazon reportedly reconsidering New York location amid growing resistance movement
Priscilla Morrison | 09 February, 2019, 12:29

The Post's sources said no specific plans were in motion to cancel the headquarters plans, noting that Amazon may try to pressure the state's lawmakers with the threat of canceling the deal. Of this $1.525 billion, up to $1.2 billion could come from a refundable tax credit through New York State's Excelsior Program and a $325 million cash grant from the Empire State Development fund. The deal bypassed city council approval, adding to the consternation.

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union President Marc Perrone said, "it is outrageous that Amazon is now essentially threatening New York City taxpayers to pay for its new headquarters or else it will leave town". That makes the billions in subsidies seem gratuitous.

Friday afternoon, Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer tweeted, "Hey @amazon, heard many NYS leaders oppose deal for your 2nd headquarters". "The idea that we need to subsidize them in any way blows our mind".

U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose district spans parts of Queens and the Bronx, has also criticized Amazon.

Several other issues have inspired outrage over what critics call the #HQ2scam.

NY also offered up to $505 million in subsidies.

Sources who are "familiar with the company's thinking" spoke to The Washington Post on Friday, and said the e-commerce giant might reconsider its deal in the face of vocal opposition to the deal.

Amazon hasn't made things easier for itself with the company's outright refusal at recent community board meetings to unionize its workforce. The HQ2 project has actually split the city's labor movement. It's very likely that this strong public outcry is one of the primary factors for Amazon to be allegedly rethinking its plans.

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Van Bramer said he would be glad to see Amazon go. It must be approved unanimously by the state Public Authorities Control Board.

"The question is whether it's worth it if the politicians in NY don't want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming", one person familiar with the company's plans told WaPo.

Amazon also said it would build a new operations center in Nashville, Tenn., that will create more than 5,000 jobs.

Cuomo slammed the possibility that Amazon would pull out, blaming "political opposition". What benefit the company would actually get was unclear.

News that Amazon is considering backing out of its plan to build a new headquarters site in Queens comes just days after Democratic state Sen. "Don't know if they are actually thinking of leaving NY".

Whatever the outcome, Amazon's gambit shows how much the HQ2 sweepstakes has backfired. "If Amazon's view is they'll only come here if they get $3bn of our dollars, then they shouldn't be here". Even Michael Bloomberg is denouncing tax gifts to Amazon.

More broadly, the Amazon farce has shone a spotlight on the sordid process of economic development deals, which cost cities and states up to $90 billion annually while local services suffer from a lack of funds. Deals that would receive nearly no scrutiny, like U.S. Steel winning $47 million in tax breaks from impoverished Gary, Indiana, now make headlines.

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