Two Long Island City elected officials make it clear: They do not want Amazon HQ2. Seriously

State senator, city councilman: Offering massive corporate welfare to one of world’s wealthiest companies is just wrong

By Tom Bergeron
Long Island City, N.Y. | Nov 13, 2018 at 12:40 pm

Imagine winning the contest for Amazon’s second headquarters … and not wanting it.

Or even announcing you will fight against it.

That’s how it is playing out in Long Island City, in Queens, New York. Or, at least it is with two elected officials who are not happy about what the city and state potentially have promised the e-commerce giant.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Queens) and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer released a statement on Twitter against Amazon coming to Long Island City.

Amazon announced Tuesday it was splitting what it is calling HQ2 between Long Island City and Crystal City, Virginia.

“As elected officials representing Long Island City and its surrounding neighborhoods, we have serious reservations about the reported deal to bring Amazon to LIC,” the statement started. “Offering massive corporate welfare from scarce public resources to one of the wealthiest companies in the world at a time of great need in our state is just wrong.”

It is unclear what incentives Amazon has been promised. But, in its RFP that was released in September 2017, Amazon said the winning bidder would land 50,000 high-paying jobs (averaging $100,000 in salary) and a $5 billion investment.

Gianaris and Van Bramer went on to say it is not right for ordinary citizens to pick up the cost for the company.

“The burden should not be on the 99 percent to prove we are worthy of the 1 percent’s presence in our communities, but rather on Amazon to prove it would be a responsible corporate partner.

“Corporate responsibility should take precedence over corporate welfare.

“If public reports about this deal prove true, we cannot support a giveaway of this magnitude, a process that circumvents community review through the use of a GPP, or the inevitable stress on the infrastructure of a community already stretched to its limits.”

The pair ended the note with a shot against Amazon — and a promise to fight.

“We are not elected to serve as Amazon drones. It is incumbent upon us to stand up on behalf of the people we represent and that is what we intend to do.”

Read more from ROI-NJ on Tuesday’s announcement: