A Real New York City Tale of Two Cities: New York's Leaders Bring the Out of Town Techies into NYC, Pushing Out New York's Poor and Middle Class that Voted for Them and Build Out Great City
n a case of be careful what you wish for, politicians who signed a boosterish Dear “Mr. Bezos” letter last year urging Amazon to come to New York City now oppose the deal as a giveaway.
Queens lawmakers Michael Gianaris and Jimmy Van Bramer, now campaigning to scuttle the deal, also signed the enthusiastic letter to Amazon’s CEO.
Another signatory, Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer, now calls the deal “a scary precedent for every neighborhood.”
Bronx Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr., who supports Amazon, accused the supporters-turned-critics of “hypocrisy.”
“Last year, I signed onto a letter encouraging Amazon to consider New York City as a site for its new headquarters. This was intended to be the beginning of a conversation,” Williams said in a statement.
Melissa Mark-Viverito, who signed the letter when she was Council speaker, tweeted, on Wednesday “$1.2 billion to lure a company that exploits working people and destroys organized labor. This is #debezosnewyork”.
State Sen. Gianaris, who represents the Long Island City, said, “When that letter was signed, many of us thought that the jobs would be good. We never contemplated that public dollars would secretly be given to Amazon to get that deal.”
Gov. Cuomo, who worked in tandem with Mayor de Blasio to negotiate the Amazon package, said the flippers are ignoring the benefits of snaring Amazon.
“I’m old enough to remember when these pols thought 40,000 direct jobs, a 107,000 total job impact, $27.5 billion in revenue and a 9 to 1 return on investment was
As Mayor de Blasio touts Amazon as savior for nearby public housing, tenants shiver without heat once again (NYDN)
The anti-Amazon opportunists: Pols complaining about subsidies are really just upset they didn't get a seat at the table (NYDN)
They might as well shout at themselves, for leaving the door wide open for the retailing giant to hack the state's generous economic development programs.
Queens Sen. Mike Gianaris, a leader of the new Democratic majority, headlined a protest condemning $3 billion in state and city subsidies, about half of which comes at Cuomo's discretion.
Council Speaker Corey Johnson and local Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer shout about a planned detour around routine city land use reviews that include a Council vote.
If the critics are so concerned about the tax breaks bestowed on one of the biggest and richest companies in the world without outside review, they should have given a hoot more than a year ago, when New York joined more than 200 other municipalities to compete, if not many years ago, when such disbursements to attract companies began.
Nearly $900 million in Amazon's benefit haul comes automatically, just for setting shop outside midtown Manhattan. Another $400 million is autopilot property tax reduction — both under state law Gianaris made no move to change in his eight years in the Senate, but now says he wants to completely overhaul.
As for $1.2 billion in Excelsior tax credits Cuomo promises: The state previously awarded Amazon up to $45 million under the program for 4,800 new jobs, including at a Staten Island warehouse, and has doled out hundreds of other such breaks to companies in the five boroughs. Crickets.
As for Johnson and Van Bramer, they proved they can be little trusted with make-or-break power over transformative development when Van Bramer nixed a worthy affordable housing project in his district with Johnson and the rest of the Council's assent.