Amazon HQ2 may not happen in NY after all, report says

Jermaine Castillo
February 11, 2019

Amazon is reconsidering its plans to open up a new campus in Long Island City, Queens, according to a Washington Post report, after facing backlash from locals.

Executives have had discussions to reassess their NY decision and explore different alternatives, said two people who spoke candidly about the perspective.

"The company has not leased or purchased office space for the project, making it easy to withdraw its commitment", the Post continued. "It is the largest economic development transaction in the history of the state of New York", Cuomo said at an economic development address in Woodbury, Long Island, on Thursday.

U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose district spans parts of Queens and the Bronx, has also criticized Amazon.

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"We're focused on engaging with our new neighbors - small business owners, educators, and community leaders", it said. 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.

Such is not the case with the state Senate, however. Apparently, the online retailer has yet to rent office space in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City and is finding that more than a few locals would rather not see NY experience the prosperity that 25,000 new jobs might bring.

Amazon is reconsidering its New York Headquarters after fierce political opposition, according to a report.

All of this has Amazon wondering if picking NY was the right thing to do.

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Noting the report, Cuomo accused the state Senate - whose leader recently tapped an Amazon critic for a board that might have sway over the project's subsidies - of "governmental malpractice" and siding with those who are "pandering to the local politics".

Under grilling at a recent city council hearing - where he further angered critics by saying Amazon would oppose any effort by NY workers to unionize - company vice-president Brian Huseman dropped a veiled hint that the giant could pull out.

However, no final decisions have been made at this point, says the paper. After the announcement for HQ2, the so-called Everything Store plastered Queens with flyers about how great it is and why it would be a good addition to the neighborhood (Gianaris sent corresponding flyers telling Amazon to stick to Seattle).

In an effort to ease tension with the city, Amazon tried putting on a full court press to win over New Yorkers, promising jobs for residents in public housing and tech training for SUNY and CUNY students to get their foot in the door. They're pushing for NY to replace cash bail in most criminal cases with community supervision, electronic monitoring or travel restrictions. "Amazon would be exceedingly foolish to actually pull out of this deal".

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Cuomo complained that the new federal tax code that caps state and local tax deductions (SALT) on wealthy New Yorkers has triggered a drop in state tax revenues. Cuomo's policies aimed at boosting job growth across NY through billions of dollars in tax incentives and business subsidies had been criticized for years by Republicans and Democrats alike even before the Amazon deal was announced last fall.

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