No. Amazon did not pull their plans on building a new facility in New York City because Queens residents threatened to publish a picture of Jeff Bezos’ wiener.
NYC had promised $3 billion in tax breaks for Amazon to build their HQ2 in Queens, but after being on the receiving end of criticism from city activists and local politicians, the company decided they didn’t need to make it in New York to make it anywhere.
In exchange for the tax breaks, Amazon promised to bring 25,000 jobs to the city. Opponents felt this investment would only help the city in the short term, and hurt in the future. They argue that tax subsidies mostly redistribute income upward, from taxpayers to corporate shareholders. They want an end to corporations pitting cities against each other to entice corporations.
Corporations like Boeing, Nike, Intel, Ford, General Motors, Foxconn, Royal Dutch Shell, and major league sports teams have been doing this for decades. In 1992, Georgia built a dome for the Atlanta Falcons at a cost of $214 million. Less than 25 years later, they built them a new one for $1.6 billion. On top of that, the team received naming rights to the stadium, which is estimated to be valued at $314 million. In exchange, the tax payers get to buy expensive tickets to see the Falcons suck.
After all the money taxpayers invested in the new Atlanta stadium, the exact value of the naming rights are secretive. Corporations like Amazon are very secretive too about how they use their tax breaks. While politicians may not have a problem with corporate secrecy and offering handouts in the form of corporate welfare, a lot of people paying those taxes do care. The United States government spends half as much on social welfare than it does on corporate welfare.
Coming on the heels of Amazon leaving NYC came the news of the company not paying any federal taxes for 2018, despite having profits over $11 billion. They didn’t pay any federal taxes in 2017 either. Do we really need to build Amazon a football stadium?
Politicians like NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio are blasting politicians like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for opposing the Amazon deal. They accuse her of hurting her city. Maybe people like her did hurt NYC in the short term, but what did de Blasio do to New York in the long run? All these corporate handouts do is encourage more corporate handouts. Eventually, that corporation will leave you for a sweeter deal if you don’t keep the handouts coming. These companies are not good corporate citizens. They have much less loyalty to the communities than it demands from them.
Amazon wasn’t tough enough for New York. If they can’t take people yelling at them then they don’t belong in New York City anyway.
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