Amazon Drops New York Headquarters Plan Amid Protests

Tuesday, 19 Feb, 2019

However, Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter questioned the validity of the jobs figure and pointed to a report that Amazon will pay zero federal income tax in 2018, despite $11 billion in profits.

Cities and States vied desperately for the economic stimulus, with New Jersey offering $7 billion in potential credits and the Mayor of an Atlanta suburb promising to make Mr. Bezos mayor for life of a new city called "Amazon".

The mayor called it a "fair deal" and blasted the company for cowering after criticism about the deal, including those of freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of the Bronx and Queens in New York City.

The politicking grew heated.

On Thursday Amazon announced it was cancelling its plans to build a headquarters in Queens, New York. But the company last week criticized "a number of state and local politicians" who it said "have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required" to complete the project. Reflecting the dire reality of living within NYCHA, which is still falling apart despite promises for fixes from elected politicians, the Queensbridge, Astoria, Woodside and Ravenswood NYCHA houses' tenant associations released the following statement. The questioning and immediate pushback following the announcement likely came as a surprise to Amazon, considering the fawning that had happened throughout the competition.

"It highlighted a particular community dynamic in a region that has its act together", Dorsey said.

The final blow landed Thursday, when Amazon announced on a blog post that it was backing out, surprising the mayor, who had spoken to an Amazon executive Monday night and received "no indication" that the company would bail.

Monica Backmon, executive director of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, was even more direct.

"It's time to hit the reset button and say, 'What did we do wrong?'" Stringer said. "It speaks to certainty that we know what we are doing and put a lot of planning and effort early on into it". The mayor later said the infusion of cash had nothing to do with the Amazon deal, and at the time Crain's speculated that the gesture was meant to placate a local City Council member and smooth the path to rezoning a portion of the neighborhood that has always been in the Department of City Planning's crosshairs.

"New York City politically is very controlled by a handful of unions". Concerned that Amazon could be in limbo for more than a year ahead of the State panel's vote, the growing consensus within the company was that it did not make sense to move ahead in the face of persistent opposition with a headquarters in New York City, where it already has 5,000 employees.

Tusk also faulted Amazon ($AMZN) for not realizing its anti union policy would not align with New York's local politics.

"The fact that that group exists and was so heavily engaged periodically throughout the 14 months was a major contributor for how well things have rolled out at the state level", Moret said in a recent interview.

That divide continued last week when Amazon reneged on the deal.

Nathan Jensen, a professor at the University of Texas and a leading expert on such incentive packages, says at most 25% of the companies that receive these kinds of deals would decide against coming to that town or city without the breaks.

Unfortunately, it appears the outrage politics that have proliferated since the advent of social media are now on the verge of consuming New York City's future.

"Their bid was in accord with past NY practices, but NY has traditionally had about triple the average incentive offer, compared to the average state/local offer in the U.S.", Bartik said, pointing to his incentive database.

"I'm going to be talking about that all over this nation".

The decision has also generated fresh debate about the rich tax-breaks and public funding that municipalities routinely throw at companies to lure their business and the jobs they bring with them. Her side didn't want Amazon to get taxpayer help and demanded instead that it be forced to contribute millions to schools and subways.