New York State Sen. Michael Gianaris ripped Amazon on Thursday over its decision to cancel a planned second headquarters in Long Island City after encountering opposition from local politicians, saying the e-commerce company had acted “like a petulant child.”
Gianaris, whose district includes the Long Island City neighborhood in Queens, was among the most vocal critics of Amazon’s plan, arguing that the deal, which included billions of dollars in tax incentives, amounted to corporate welfare. Amazon announced it had abandoned the plan, which promised to add 25,000 high-paying jobs, because of opposition from local political leaders.
“Like a petulant child, Amazon insists on getting its way or takes its ball and leaves,” Gianaris told the New York Times. “The only thing that happened here is that a community that was going to be profoundly affected by their presence started asking questions.”
Amazon canceled plans for a corporate headquarters in New York City despite poll data which showed that 70 percent of New Yorkers supported it. The Seattle-based company said it has more than 5,000 employees in the greater New York City area and would “continue growing these teams” despite its decision.
The company added that it would not attempt to find a new location for its planned second headquarters, opting instead to move forward with previously announced plans to develop outposts in Northern Virginia and Nashville.
“Even by their own words, Amazon admits they will grow their presence in New York without their promised subsidies. So what was all this really about?” Gianaris added.
Amazon thanked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, both Democrats who backed the original plan, for their support during the process. To lure Amazon, the two politicians crafted a deal that included $3 billion in incentives – benefits that critics derided as a waste of resources.
“Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have worked tirelessly on behalf of New Yorkers to encourage local investment and job creation, and we can’t speak positively enough about all their efforts,” Amazon said in a blog post. “The steadfast commitment and dedication that these leaders have demonstrated to the communities they represent inspired us from the very beginning and is one of the big reasons our decision was so difficult.”