Chicago pol weighs 'robot tax' after Amazon's HQ2 controversy

As reports surface that Amazon is reconsidering plans for its New York HQ2 location amid local opposition, one Chicago politician floated a proposal to tax companies, like Amazon, that automate jobs and displace workers.

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In a tweet fired off over the weekend, outgoing alderman for the 47th Ward of the City of Chicago Ameya Pawar, a Democrat, said that before his term is up, he plans to introduce two pieces of legislation that would reduce incentives awarded to companies that automate promised jobs and a robot tax to prepare for the future – specifically citing Amazon as a threat to the modern day labor force.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, the robot tax could be particularly hefty, potentially equal to the annual salary paid for every job that becomes automated after a redevelopment agreement expires. Revenue would reportedly be allocated toward workforce redevelopment efforts.

Pawar suggested in a separate tweet that most of the jobs Amazon promised to create – 25,000 at the Long Island City, Queens, location – will eventually be automated, including warehouse and trucking. He added that “dangling jobs is the best form of anti-trust advocacy.”

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Amazon was reconsidering building one of its new headquarters in New York over mounting local opposition. Amazon will receive performance-based incentives from New York state worth $1.525 billion – dependent on whether it fulfills its job creation promises.


Amazon did not return FOX Business’ request for comment on Pawar’s proposals. But in a statement to FOX Business on Friday regarding the Post’s report, Amazon said it remained committed to “engaging with” its “new neighbors.”

Pawar claimed Amazon was using the New York situation as a way to “scare” the public into giving them tax incentives.