Amazon’s commitment to build its HQ2 in New York and Virginia is under attack by dangerously irresponsible pols in New York. Their phony argument that the city and state have engaged in “corporate welfare” to the “anti-union” Amazon now threatens the largest economic development deal in New York history: 25,000 to 40,000 jobs at an average salary of $ 150,000.

First, the city’s $ 2.5 billion to Amazon is an “as of right” payment under law similar to a payment for each and every qualifying economic development deal in the city. The state’s $ 500 million is an additional payment making the total $ 3 billion.

The most conservative estimates are that this $ 3 billion will bring $ 27 billion to the city.

Second, it is essential that the finance industry’s grip on the city be reduced through the introduction of other industries. Tech and Amazon provide the route to reducing the overwhelming influence of the finance industry on the city’s economy. What if a cyclical downturn result in layoffs in finance?

Third, the vacant site along the water in Queens where Amazon plans to build is the location of an economic development zone created thirty years ago under Governor Mario Cuomo that has resulted in zero development, zilch in thirty years, and can be expected to lie empty for another thirty years unless the Amazon deal goes through.

Fourth, the argument that the deal’s avoidance of the city’s standard real estate review in favor of a state expedited approval procedure is a “give-away” is the only way Amazon would have agreed. The city’s standard procedure takes a year and at the end of the process, Amazon might be approved and it might be disapproved. Clearly unacceptable.

Fifth, the opposition to the deal is fueled in large measure by certain unions. Significantly, the city and state insisted that the construction and building maintenance unions be included in the deal and Amazon agreed. What Amazon opposes is the unionization of its distribution centers. Opponents of the deal don’t mention that certain unions are included, just that certain unions are not.

Sixth, opponents’ argument that the deal will burden the city’s infrastructure is not based on facts. In emphasizing the large numbers of jobs the deal will produce it may seem inconsistent to state that in a city of 8 million, the addition of 25,000 to 40,000 additional jobs will not unduly burden infrastructure but that is the fact. Some new infrastructure requirements are being financed by Amazon.


The manner in which the opposition is being conducted is scandalous. A three-person sate board must unanimously approve the deal. One of the members is appointed by the State Senate’s majority leader, now a Democrat after many years of Republican State Senate control.

She appointed a Queens State Senator who is a major opponent of the deal.  The Governor can veto the appointment. He should do so and directly challenge the Democratic leader. Too much is at stake to permit the deal to be scuttled because of the political complexity of gubernatorial opposition to a leader from his own party.

Is Amazon considering pulling out of the deal? Of course!

In the applications of over 200 cities to get Amazon’s HQ 2, the cities’ responses assumed that all of HQ 2 would go to the same place as Amazon had suggested. Amazon ultimately decided to put half of HQ 2 in Virginia and half in New York. It can easily decide to put it all in Virginia where it has been welcomed.

The preposterous opposition to the Amazon deal should be resisted by all thinking people in New York.