NEW YORK (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc abruptly scrapped plans to build a major outpost in New York that could have created 25,000 jobs, blaming opposition from local leaders upset by the nearly $3 billion in incentives promised by state and city politicians.
The company said on Thursday it did not see consistently “positive, collaborative” relationships with state and local officials. Opponents of the project feared congestion and higher rents in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, and objected to handing billions in incentives to a company run by Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man.
State Senator Michael Gianaris, who represents Queens and was a vocal critic of the deal, told a news conference on Thursday that the Amazon subsidies were unnecessary.
“This was a shakedown, pure and simple,” he said.
Amazon’s sudden pullout from New York City prompted finger pointing by Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo, the politicians who crafted the deal. Cuomo angrily blamed the loss on local politicians while de Blasio blamed Amazon.
Cuomo said in a statement that a small group of politicians had “put their own narrow political interests” above those of New Yorkers.
The year-long search for its so-called HQ2 culminated in Amazon picking Northern Virginia and New York after hundreds of municipalities, from Newark, N.J. to Indianapolis competed for the coveted tax-dollars and high-wage jobs the project promised. Read more