Farewell Amazon. You Will Be Missed
On February 14th, Amazon cancelled their plans of building a headquarters in Long Island City, Queens due to intense protest from residents, workers, and politicians. Many were outraged over the deal struck between Amazon and the City which would grant Amazon $3 billion in tax breaks over a 10 year period, and allow them to circumvent property laws in the area.
City council member Jimmy Van Bramer and State Senator Michael Gianaris spoke out against the deal, claiming that, “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.”
It’s not unreasonable for some to be upset about the exorbitant tax breaks that would have been given to Amazon, considering that its CEO, Jeff Bezos, is the richest man in modern history, with a net worth exceeding $150 billion. However, despite the perceived unfairness, Amazon’s headquarters is a loss for the city and the for the future if New York State.
Amazon promised to provide 25 thousand new high paying jobs with the establishment of the headquarters in return for these tax breaks. On top of the 25,000 tech jobs, the state estimated that the headquarters construction would of provided 1,300 construction jobs and 107 thousand in direct and indirect jobs. Before there was even an official announcement from Amazon, realty website StreetEasy reported a 295 percent increase in buyer searches in the area from the week before.
In Long Island City, housing prices have increased by 5% over the course of the year, even before Amazon’s announcement. For those who don’t know, Long Island City is a neighborhood which has grown in popularity over the past decade. It is a prime example of gentrification, and has become home for countless young families and progressive businesses. With this in mind, the increasing rate of rent prices is an issue regardless of Amazon moving into
LIC or not, Through these jobs, Amazon would of generated $27.5 billion in revenue over 25 years for the city and state. Now, due to the social issues which pressured Amazon to back out of the deal, the city will lose this opportunity. On the other hand, Amazon will not be affected economically by this decision, as there are countless other cities eager to accept a headquarters. Even so, Amazon is not seeking to find a new destination for a headquarters.
As someone from Queens, I supported Amazon. While rent would have increased throughout Queens, the revenue generated from the headquarters would of benefited the borough, and the entire city, as a whole. I understand people taking issue with Amazon receiving seemingly unfair tax breaks and privileges, but the economic benefits would of outweighed the social issues. It would have been exciting to have a corporation as significant as Amazon to make NYC their home. Oh well.