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Cuomo raps Amazon critics amid report company's rethinking

Cuomo raps Amazon critics amid report company's rethinking

In a statement at the time of Amazon's announcement in November, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson demanded to know "why a company as rich as Amazon would need almost $2 billion in public money for its expansion plans at a time when New York desperately needs money for affordable housing, transportation, infrastructure and education".

Amazon executives have had internal discussions recently to reassess the situation in NY and explore alternatives, the Post reported.

"If the Amazon deal falls apart, they will have nobody to blame but themselves".

The mayor and Cuomo helped broker the Amazon deal, which calls for providing the company with about $2.8 billion in state and city tax incentives and grants if 25,000 or more Amazon jobs are created in Long Island City. The deal bypassed city council approval, adding to the consternation.

"We have to make sure that in NY state our justice system is fair to both parties", Bailey said in a video tweet earlier this week. That makes the billions in subsidies seem gratuitous.

NY city councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the Queens neighborhood and opposes the deal, told the Guardian he had heard "some rumbling in the last few days" that "Amazon was teetering or rethinking". "The idea that we need to subsidize them in any way blows our mind".

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose district includes some nearby neighborhoods, suggested on Twitter that the report showed people can "come together and effectively organize against creeping overreach of one of the world's biggest corporations". Amazon is already finding this out in its home city of Seattle, and it's running into opposition in NY because numerous people there don't think it fits.

On the other hand, Amazon has significant backing in the form of Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. "I think anyone who's middle class is not going to be able to live in Long Island City much longer", Westin says.

The person briefed on the matter said that Amazon was still working toward winning approval from NY officials and had not given up on the proposal, but was considering potential alternatives to NY. The HQ2 project has actually split the city's labor movement.

In Virginia, the existing large population of highly-paid tech workers means Amazon will fit right in.

The company's presence near Madison Avenue would conceivably enable it to dip into the talent pool of both ad agencies and marketing consultancies as Amazon works to sharpen its expertise and beef up its ad offerings.

"The problem is the state Senate has adopted that position and that is what could stop Amazon".

In the past two weeks, the state Senate nominated an outspoken Amazon critic to a board where he could potentially veto the deal.

No specific plans to abandon the NY location has been made. Officials this week approved $15.2 million in infrastructure improvements related to the project. "They arrogantly continue to refuse to meet with key stakeholders to address their concerns, despite requests from New York's top elected officials to do so".

An article in the New York Times concerning Cuomo's reaction to Amazon's potential pullout casts doubt on such a move, noting that Amazon doesn't really have a backup.

Following Friday's Washington Post report, Crain's Chicago Business reported that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker had already reached out to Amazon officials asking them to reconsider Chicago as an HQ2 location. The company could certainly skip over to Newark and re-open talks to place its offices there, if only to loosen resistance in New York City.

The race for Amazon's HQ2 may not be over after all.

Amazon hasn't made things easier for itself with the company's outright refusal at recent community board meetings to unionize its workforce.


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