New York is offering vastly more than Virginia for its half of the new Amazon headquarters. What’s up with that?
The city and state ponied up nearly $3 billion in grants, credits and so on over 25 years. Down south, Amazon is getting $573 million plus $195 million in infrastructure upgrades. Sure looks like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos just fleeced Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio as rubes.
Columnist E.J. McMahon noted one possible explanation: New York had to pay more to cover Amazon’s added costs for using all-union construction workers. If that’s the deal — and the praise from building-trades honcho Gary LaBarbera suggests it is — then it’s the taxpayers who are getting fleeced.
Most important, Amazon simply isn’t that big a “get.” As Nicole Gelinas notes, it’s offering to create 2,500 jobs a year — a drop in the bucket of the city’s employment growth since 2008.
Meaning “the city, as a whole, will barely notice these new jobs.”
Plus, she points out: “Google has hired 10,000 people in New York without massive subsidies.”
Yes, Cuomo and de Blasio get bragging rights: They “won” Amazon’s national competition. But it’s likely the company always wanted to come to the nation’s media and finance capital — and a metro area that ranks fifth in the nation in Recode’s rankings for tech-talent pools. (DC, the other winner, is third.)
The competition was just a way to maximize its “development” bribes — and both “winners” overpaid.
State Sen. Cathy Young (R-Allegany) contrasted the Amazon deal with news that the Erie County-based New Era Cap will close its Derby plant next March. More than 200 workers will lose their jobs in 2019. Why celebrate a gift to a corporate giant to locate in a part of the state “where job opportunities are plentiful?”
It’s hard to argue with her conclusion: “The winner in this deal isn’t New York, and it certainly isn’t the taxpayers.”
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