Rep. Carolyn Maloney expressed her disappointment on Sunday over Amazon’s decision last month to withdraw its plan to build another headquarters in New York City after receiving fierce opposition from local officials and community members.
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“I find it tragic that they are not coming at this point,” Maloney, D-N.Y., told “Sunday Morning Futures.”
The congresswoman, who represents New York’s 12th District, which includes Manhattan, was one of many business leaders, union chiefs, community leaders and lawmakers to sign an open letter printed in last Friday’s New York Times asking for Amazon to reconsider building its “HQ2” in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens.
“We know the public debate that followed the announcement of the Long Island City project was rough and not very welcoming,” the letter reads. “Opinions are strong in New York – sometimes strident. We consider it part of the New York charm! But when we commit to a project as important as this, we figure out how to get it done in a way that works for everyone.”
As part of the agreement between Amazon and New York, the e-commerce giant said it would create 25,000 high-paying jobs, invest $2.5 billion and was expected to generate more than $10 billion in tax revenue. In return, Amazon would receive performance-based direct incentives of more than $1.5 billion – if the company didn’t create the promised amount of jobs, it would not receive the money.
“They wanted Amazon to come, they wanted the jobs, they wanted the transit improvements,” Maloney said.
Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents the district where Amazon planned to build its HQ2, was a vocal critic of the project and was skeptical when it came to whether it would have truly been beneficial to the local community.
“When you actually try to extract the details of this deal, all of a sudden the math got really fuzzy and it felt, to the community, that the details were falling apart,” Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat, told Fox News in mid-February, just days after Amazon scrapped its plans.
However, despite the conflicting views on the Amazon HQ2 project within her party, Maloney said she will continue to urge the Seattle-based company to reconsider its exit from New York City.
“We can always disagree … so you fight for what you believe in,” she said. “I believe in a diversified economy and I believe in more jobs for New York and I think this statement that we’re working to reach out to Amazon is an important statement to other businesses that we want to welcome jobs, that we want to work with them to help our country and help people.”