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Cuomo Says Amazon’s Manhattan Announcement is “Crumbs From the Table Compared to a Feast”

The sites that would have made up the General Project Plan as part of Amazon’s headquarters project. Amazon planned to build over the sites outlined in red. The site outlined in green, known as “block c” would have moved through the upzoning process despite not being part of Amazon’s headquarters. (Google Maps)

Dec. 9, 2019 By Allie Griffin

Less than a year after Amazon backed out of opening its second headquarters in Long Island City, the e-commerce giant announced it would open a new office in New York City — but this time in Manhattan and with far fewer jobs.

Amazon has signed a lease for 335,000 square feet in Hudson Yards on the borough’s west side. The new office will employ 1,500 workers and will open in 2021.

The jobs created are a fraction of the 25,000 that Amazon’s headquarters, dubbed the HQ2, would have brought to Long Island City.

The Long Island City plan would have provided Amazon with nearly $3 billion in tax breaks and subsidies. The Manhattan deal comes with none.

The announcement, however, reignited the heated debate over the scuttled Amazon deal.

“Won’t you look at that: Amazon is coming to NYC anyway – *without* requiring the public to finance shady deals, helipad handouts for Jeff Bezos, & corporate giveaways,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Ocasio-Cortez was one of the main opponents of Amazon coming to Long Island City, which lead to the company abandoning its Queens plan.

But Governor Andrew Cuomo, who spurned critics of the Long Island City deal, said that Amazon’s Hudson Yard’s announcement should not be seen as a great victory for New York nor Queens in particular.

“This is crumbs from the table compared to a feast,” Cuomo told the Associated Press. “We don’t have a problem bringing businesses to Manhattan but we have been trying for decades to get that Queens waterfront developed.”

State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who has been at odds with Cuomo for some time, viewed Amazon’s latest announcement as a win for New Yorkers.

“Amazon is coming to New York, just as they always planned,” Gianaris said in a statement. “Fortunately, we dodged a $3 billion bullet by not agreeing to their subsidy shakedown earlier this year.”

But Justin Potter, a Long Island City resident who will be challenging Gianaris in the Democratic primary next year, was critical of Gianaris.

Potter tweeted “Do you want a representative who recognizes that 1,500 jobs in Manhattan is not the same as 25,000 jobs in Queens?”

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14 Comments

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You didn't vote for the billionaire game show host did you?

Otherwise pretending to care about “big money” in politics makes you a total hypocrite!

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Larry Penner

It is true that Amazon will bring far fewer jobs to Hudson Yards than the previous proposed Long Island City project. The key difference is that they now require far less public subsidy. Future Amazon employees will benefit by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $2.4 billion extension of the Flushing #7 subway to the new Hudson Yards Station.

Corporate welfare has been going on for decades, on a bipartisan basis by previous Governors and Mayors. NYC prospered and successfully grew prior to creation of the NYC Economic Development Corporation in 1991 and its predecessor – the NYC Public Development Corporation in 1966. In too many instances, projects supported by these municipal government corporations have been heavily subsidized by taxpayers, commonly known as corporate welfare. Between direct government funding, low interest below market rate loans, and long term tax exemptions — the bill to taxpayers in the end is greater than the so-called public benefits. There is also a relationship between Pay for Play campaign contributions from developers to elected officials looking for favorable legislation, private property condemnation under eminent domain, building permits along with direct and hidden subsidies. In some cases, city, suburban counties and state development corporations actually compete against each other attempting to outbid each other in offering potential investors the best deal. This translates to the highest subsidies at taxpayers expense.

Don’t forget the conflict of interest for senior staff from city, county or state regulatory and permitting agencies. Too many staffers leave in the twilight of any Mayoral, County Executive or Governor’s administration to become employees or consultants to the same developers they previously oversaw. Some developers try to purchase the support of local community groups by making so-called voluntary donations. They also make promises for capital improvements, which after the major project is completed don’t always appear. Other commitments for creation of permanent new high paying jobs and tax revenues frequently do not meet expectations.

If these projects are worthwhile, why can’t major developers use their own funds or obtain loans from banks, like medium and small businesses?

Real business people who believe in capitalism build their companies on their own. How sad that some don’t want to do it the old fashion way by sweat and hard work. They are looking for shortcuts in the form of huge subsidies at taxpayers expense and favors from elected officials. Who pays for the cost of improved sewer, water, electrical, road, traffic signal and other infrastructure improvements? There is also increased fire, police and sanitation services. How much will taxpayers be on the hook to pick up the tab?

Larry Penner

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Anonymous

Hmmmm, like a happy hour is an incentive businesses use to lure customers, tax exemptions work to lure businesses to spend their funds to build up an area and create a whole new neighborhood. But hey keep enjoying the blight and industrial dead zone in the area they would’ve built up, as well as the sardine like subways with the Manhattan centric economy that will remain. Gotta love political stupidity.

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John

This isn’t even remotely accurate.

“Real business people” have always used all available means to get tax breaks, zoning changes etc. to increase profits and reduce costs.

>>Real business people who believe in capitalism build their companies on their own.

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Victor Weinberger

@John. If I am investing billions in an economy that has people shopping online, I better get tax benefits. People need incentives to take a chance to lose everything, if this does not work out for them.

Otherwise, who will build this? AOC? Bernie? John?

Technology and internet are eliminating jobs daily. Travel agencies, Video stores, music stores, banks, post office, bookstores, gift stores, electronics stores, etc, etc are being put out of business due to technology and the internet. Heck, go to home Depot or CVS. They have more self checkout isles, than cashier lines.

Amazon was going to provide 25,000 permanent jobs, plus 1000’s of construction jobs for this project. In addition, these warehouses would employ thousands at $15+ per hour.

Dumb AOC thought we were giving Amazon $3 billion. We were giving them zero. It was tax breaks they were going to receive, after laying out money for 3 to 4 years to build this. Don’t think like AOC.

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JH

well when the ceo’s net worth is 109.7 billion.

Yeah… sorry not sorry but no tax breaks for you buddy

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Victor Weinberger

Where is the incentive to provide jobs for Amazon if there are no tax breaks?
Where is the incentive for anyone to build a factory again without tax breaks?

If you have several billion lying around, might as well invest it in 5% tax free bonds and collect $100 million tax free money every year without taking chances of building a losing company.

If I would have that type of money, I would simply invest, and not take risks with my money. Then lets see the government come crawling to the billionaires asking them to build again with large tax incentives.

Gardens Watcher

So is it all about Bezos? Would you have felt the same way if Google had picked LIC to build a new campus, rather than Amazon?

Interesting that a year ago, Google announced that they were planning to spend $1 billion on a NYC campus and double its staff within a decade. That came a month after Amazon announced they picked LIC as one of their HQ2 and planned to hire 25,000 high-tech workers. Both companies compete for a similar talent pool.

Trump gave himself millions in tax breaks

You’re saying our billionaire president was wrong for giving himself millions of dollar in tax breaks?

MEDIAWATCHER

Retire, and end the Cuomo upstate dynasty?
Maybe if one of his daughters decides to be crowned Governor, but until then, it’s Princess Andy in Albany in perpetuity!

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