The latest high-profile public figure to criticize the deal New York made with Amazon to bring half of the company’s new headquarters to Long Island City, Queens is none other than New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Announced on Tuesday, Amazon ended a months-long search for a second headquarters by choosing to expand two existing satellite offices in New York City and Arlington, Virginia, disappointing the hundreds of cities and regions in the US that vied to secure the promised 50,000 jobs and the income tax and infrastructure spending it could bring with it.
Alongside fellow New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, Gillibrand was silent all yesterday and today following the announcement while backlash built against the decision to cut Amazon more than $2 billion in tax breaks to expand its presence in the fast-growing borough. Now, Gillibrand says she’s “concerned” about how little input local community leaders and politicians were given, as well as the idea of giving billions of dollars in tax breaks to one of the wealthiest corporations on the planet. Other concerns include the gentrification effects and displacement Amazon might bring to Queens, an area of New York City already experiencing breakneck growth as Manhattan and Brooklyn continue to crowd.
“While I’m glad that Amazon recognizes that Queens is a great place to do business, I’m concerned about the the lack of community input and the incentivizes that Amazon received in order to convince them to bring these jobs to New York,” Gillibrand said in a statement released on Twitter. “One of the wealthiest companies in history should not be receiving financial assistance from the taxpayers while too many New York families struggle to make ends meet.”
Gillibrand joins a number of other vocal New York politicians, including Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, council member Jimmy Van Bramer, and State Sen. Mike Gianaris. (NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was one of the few to celebrate the deal publicly.) A number of politicians and Amazon protestors are now looking into legal challenges in order to prevent Amazon from moving to Queens. Meanwhile, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has not publicly commented on the situation.