Amazon is expected to announce two locations for its new “headquarters” (aka offices): one in Crystal City, Virginia, and the other in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, New York. And Queens’s most prominent soon-to-be representative is not excited.
While Google, Facebook, and Twitter all have large offices in NYC, which the New York Times notes were set up without state subsidies, Amazon reportedly needed New Yorkers to chip in to help it build its new office building. The ecommerce giant (cynically) required the 238 cities vying to host its new office to sign nondisclosure agreements, but the Times points out that “cities and states now spend some $90 billion a year in cash and tax incentives to attract companies,” and that’s a lot of money that could go toward things like repairing roads, subways, bridges, and even schools.
Considering that Amazon is hovering around a trillion-dollar market cap, some people are understandably outraged that their tax dollars are being used as the equivalent of a GoFundMe for Amazon.
That includes New York’s newly minted Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who took to Twitter last night to point out that tax breaks will funnel much-needed money away from the city’s crumbling infrastructure.
Starting in January, Ocasio-Cortez will represent New York’s 14th congressional district, which includes parts of Queens.
She noted that the community’s response so far has been outrage. “Amazon is a billion-dollar company,” she wrote. “The idea that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need MORE investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here.”
Amazon is a billion-dollar company. The idea that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need MORE investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 13, 2018
New York City officials no doubt sold Long Island City as an attractive neighborhood with great access to mass transit, but Amazon’s newly arriving employees may discover they’re in for a tougher commute than they bargained for. Just wait until they can’t get to work because the A train is flooded, the L train is down, the 7 train is stalled, the 1 train is delayed because of a track fire, and the D train is running on the F line. And that’s just Monday.