by WorldTribune Staff, November 14, 2018
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic socialist who was elected on Nov. 6 to represent New York’s 14th District, fumed over Amazon’s decision to locate half of its second headquarters in New York City.
“We’ve been getting calls and outreach from Queens residents all day about this,” she tweeted on Nov. 13. “The community’s response? Outrage.”
Amazon, whose owner Jeff Bezos owns the leftist Washington Post, received more than $1.5 billion in direct tax breaks and grants from the state and will locate half of its new HQ in Long Island City and the other half in Northern Virginia.
Meanwhile, Google announced plans to double its workforce in New York City to more than 14,000 people over the next decade.
“Not everybody — big surprise — wants to live in Silicon Valley, so we want to make sure we have the opportunity to build vibrant centers across the country,” Google’s chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, said at the Wall Street Journal’s D.Live conference on Nov. 13.
Google is reportedly closing in on buying or leasing a planned 1.3 million-square-foot office project in New York City’s West Village neighborhood called St. John’s Terminal. The project, which will be ready in 2022, has room for approximately 8,500 Google employees, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“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,” said Ocasio-Cortez, whose district borders the district (12th) that includes Long Island City.
Local officials like Queens City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and State Senator Mike Gianaris also came out against the deal with Amazon. The pair released a statement detailing their “serious reservations.”
“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 Amazon to provide it would be a responsible corporate neighbor,” the statement said. “We were not elected to serve as Amazon drones.”
“We’re essentially paying Amazon’s employees for them,” Gianaris told The Verge.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “We need to focus on good healthcare, living wages, affordable rent. Corporations that offer none of those things should be met w/ skepticism. It’s possible to establish economic partnerships w/ real opportunities for working families, instead of a race-to-the-bottom competition.”
New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats, have yet to release public statements about the Amazon deal.
In Virginia, meanwhile, Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both Democrats, issued statements welcoming the headquarters to their state.
“As a former Governor, now Senator, but also as a former technology executive, I’m really excited about the potential Amazon offers not only to Northern Virginia but the whole capital region and the entire Commonwealth,” Warner said.
“I’m thrilled that our skilled workforce helped persuade Amazon to bring a major new headquarters and its tens of thousands of jobs to Virginia,” Kaine said.