"If the Amazon deal falls apart, they will have nobody to blame but themselves", Appelbaum said. After months of haggling and wrangling to establish a deal involving major tax breaks and accommodations, Democrats in New York City are complaining that the deal isn't good enough, the tax breaks are too unsafe, and Amazon's arrival might be damaging to the social justice crowd because it could lead to further "gentrification" of the area. Amazon also selected Nashville to host a 5,000-person "center of excellence" for its operations business.
Reached for comment, an Amazon spokesperson simply reiterated that it is committed to engaging with its "new neighbors". That makes the billions in subsidies seem gratuitous.
The state's top 1 percent of income earners generate almost half of the state's income tax revenue, thanks to NY state's progressive tax code that taxes wealthier New Yorkers at a higher rate. Or, it may be trying to put pressure on local politicians to support the deal. Spokesman Mike Murphy said it's "unfortunate that the governor is trying to divide the Democratic Party at this crucial and historic time", after the Senate in the past few weeks approved reproductive health rights, gun control measures and protections for transgender New Yorkers and extended the ability of childhood sexual abuse survivors to seek redress in court.
Among other things, Amazon said it would hire from "across the five boroughs", offer career training for local residents and bring in over $27 billion in state and local tax revenue that can help "improve subways and buses".
"Now that people are more and more concerned about decent wages and benefits, I think Amazon's gonna have to reconsider that", de Blasio said at a press conference unrelated to the Amazon project. Last month, it ran a print advertisement in some of New York's biggest daily newspapers, wishing residents a happy New Year and pledging to work with and listen to the community. The HQ2 project has actually split the city's labor movement.
But Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said Amazon had failed to address concerns voiced about the plan.
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In one sign of opposition, artists spray-painted Amazon's logo - spelled "AMAZNO" - on streets near the proposed site.
Van Bramer said he would be glad to see Amazon go. State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D., Queens), who is deputy majority leader in the Senate, has also criticized the project. This will include a refundable tax credit, through the state's Excelsior Program, of up to $1.2 billion over the next 10 years.
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated the news that Amazon would develop HQ2 in New York City, other New York politicians have been less welcoming.
"The question is whether it's worth it if the politicians in NY don't want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming", one person familiar with Amaozn's plans told the Washington Post. It's building a similar project in Arlington, Virginia.
While Virginia officials have already approved Amazon's subsidy package, things have not gone as smoothly in NY.
So, Amazon may be really thinking about pulling back on the New York HQ2 move.