Amazon’s HQ2 process was bound to polarize (though I do enjoy a good dueling op-ed on these pages) no matter how it landed. But the decision to set up shop in New York City is likely ruffling more feathers than just about any other possible outcome.
As a resident of neighboring Astoria, Queens, the less I say about the matter the better — I’m going to assume you didn’t click on this story to read five paragraphs of me complaining about the N train and my rent.I will say I haven’t spoken to too many fellow NYC residents who are excited about the personal impact Amazon’s move will have on quality of life.
A number of local and state representatives are also finally starting to weigh in on the matter, and many of the comments don’t reflect the sort of capitalist cheerleading one anticipates from elected officials. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand took to Twitter to express “concern” with how the process played out.
In particular, the one-time Blue Dog Democrat (who handily won her latest Senate bid a few weeks back) singles out Amazon’s tax breaks, along with the impact on struggling families, writing, “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.”
New York assemblyman Ron Kim took things further, promising legislation aimed as using tax subsidies to help cancel student debt, rather than prop up Amazon. It’s a move that reflects Bernie Sanders’ recent successful bid to provide Amazon warehouse employees a $15 minimum wage.
Congress member-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressed support for Kim and voiced her own disappointment in a deal that was brokered without community input.
“Amazon is a billion-dollar company,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “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.”