Queens Lawmakers Ensure No Repeat of Amazon Deal

Queens lawmakers are doubling down on their belief that the Amazon HQ2 Deal for Long Island City was not the best for local residents, that after announcing earlier today new legislation to end corporate welfare packages.

Assemblymember Ron Kim
State Sen. Michael Gianaris

Assemblyman and Public Advocate candidate Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, Murray Hill), Deputy Majority Leader State Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside) alongside State Senator Julia Salazar (D-Bushwick, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Cypress Hills, East New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville) want to end the practice of municipal and state governments offering corporate subsidies for specific companies in New York, like the ones given in the failed Amazon HQ2 deal.

This new measure would enact a collective agreement between all states that join an interstate compact, to end the costly race to the bottom between different cities and states.

“When municipalities and states bend over backwards for the chance to give billions to mega-companies, we all lose. It is time to end the practice of subsidizing multinational corporations without transparency, accountability, or results under the guise of economic development, and to start investing in the working families and small businesses that represent the lifeblood of our country,” said Kim.

The group of lawmakers aim to level the playing field when it comes to competitive bidding for corporations and ensure investment in policies that support public infrastructure, small businesses and working families in their communities.

“There’s been a lot of talks about corporate subsidies specifically dealing with the Amazon issue and there has been a difference of opinion on all sides, but there is one thing I think people on both sides can agree on, is that a process that pitted citizen states against each other to get in Amazon’s graces was flawed and shouldn’t be permitted. They can all come together and agree that when giant coporations are dictating to city and states how much of their money they want to take becaue they are forcing them to compete, then that is a flawed system.

As part of the back room deal that was brokered between the retail giant, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, the company was given $3 billion in subsidies and tax breaks to locate its HQ2 in Queens.

The deal also left out the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) out of the equation, leaving local communities, businesses and stakeholders out of the deal, another major contention for local officials.

“The way in which the state uses public funds demonstrates where are priorities lie, and for years now we’ve seen a disturbing trend. The amazon deal is only one example of what would have been a massive misuse of public funds. And offering a corporation a private entity the resources that are so desperately needed in our communities” said Salazar.

In just two weeks, 11 states in total have joined or expressed interest in joining this effort including New York, Illinois, Arizona, West Virginia, Florida, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, North Dakota, Colorado, and Utah.

The group of lawmakers see this as a turning point in ensuring a similar Amazon deal is never brokered again across the state and that economic growth is first developed at a local level.

The group also noted that no studies have shown a correlation between such “economic development” programs and meaningful economic growth.

“When giant corporations are dictating to city and states how much of their money they want to take, the process is flawed. They wouldn’t come here without the subsidies which is how these things should unfold or not but it wouldn’t be by holding us over the barrel,” added Gianaris.

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