New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has slammed Amazon for pulling the plug on plans to set up a headquarters in the city, saying the decision caught him by surprise. (Feb. 14)
Politicians on the left and right continued sniping Sunday over who is to blame for Amazon’s shocking decision last week to scuttle plans to build a second headquarters in New York City.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., castigated New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for her repeated criticism of the deal.
“If Joe Crowley was still a congressman, it wouldn’t have happened,” King said in an interview that aired Sunday on AM 970 in New York, according to The Hill. Ocasio-Cortez defeated Crowley, a longtime Queens congressman, in a Democratic primary last year.
“It’s like putting a sign up that you can’t do business in New York,” King said. “Nothing is ever perfect, but in this case, it was as close to it as you’re going to get.”
On “Meet the Press” on Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who helped broker the deal, blamed Amazon for reacting so abruptly to the criticism.
“I have no problem with fellow progressives criticizing a deal or wanting more from Amazon,” he said on the program. “I wanted more from Amazon, too, but the bottom line is, this is an example of an abuse of corporate power.
“Amazon took their ball and went home and what they did was confirm people’s worst fears about corporate America. Here’s the 1 percent dictating to everyone else even though we gave them a fair deal.”
At the same time, de Blasio said progressive Democrats’ criticism of the $3 billion in tax incentives Amazon received was misplaced.
“This was a deal that was going to bring $27 billion in revenue to the state and city for things like public education, mass transit and affordable housing,” he said. “And the $3 billion in incentives was only after we were getting the jobs and getting the revenue.”
In November, Amazon chose Long Island City in Queens and Arlington, Virginia, as the winners of a national competition to host the second headquarters. The company vowed to bring 25,000 to 40,000 jobs to New York City in exchange for $3 billion in state and local tax subsidies. In addition to the jobs, the project was to generate $27 billion in tax revenue for the city and state.
The plans for New York unraveled last week amid progressive Democrats’ criticism of the subsidies and concerns that the new workforce would increase traffic and home prices, among other issues. Amazon feared New York politicians might not sign off on some of the approvals needed for the project.
On Friday, Ocasio-Cortez and Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of operations, feuded on Twitter.
Citing a Newsweek article, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “is that culture of ‘strict performance’ why Amazon workers have to urinate in bottles & work while on food stamps to meet ‘targets?’ ‘Performance’ shouldn’t come at the cost of dehumanizing conditions. That’s why we got rid of sweatshops.”
Clark responded on Twitter, “these claims simply aren’t true. We are proud of our jobs with excellent pay ($15 min), benefits from day 1 & lots of other benefits like our Career Choice prepaid educational programs.” He invited the congresswoman to take a tour, adding “we’d love to have you!”
Amazon will not build a new headquarters in New York City, a stunning reversal to an ambitious plan that would have brought an estimated 25,000 jobs to the city. (Feb. 14)
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