Amazon just canceled HQ2 in NY, and everywhere else too

Ann Santiago
February 15, 2019

City Council members scheduled hearings at which they grilled Amazon officials about the company's labor practices, its contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide facial recognition technology and other issues.

The company, which already pays a grand total of zero dollars in federal income taxes, would have been able to avail of $1.5 billion in tax breaks, as well as additional grants of $3,000 per employee for locating in the city's outer boroughs. To land Amazon, however, both cities awarded Amazon some hefty tax breaks. And polls, despite what Amazon claims, were not at all positive.

Bankrate.com senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick said Amazon essentially caved to local opposition and Amazon's decision not to come won't solve long-term problems like housing affordability. State lawmakers previous year approved an $8.5 billion package - including $6.5 billion in tax incentives and $2 billion in infrastructure and transportation spending - in hopes of luring the internet titan to the state.

And there are plenty of others that do.

Amazon said it does not plan to look for another headquarters location at this time and will continue with its plans to build new offices in Arlington, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee.

Besides the public backlash in New York City, tension was building at Amazon headquarters in Seattle. Nashville, Tennessee, which was awarded a 5,000-person centre, also said it was open to taking on a bigger role should NY withdraw from consideration. "The alternative sites which were part of the earlier announcement, Northern Virginia and Nashville, could well benefit with even more jobs than planned".

Maritza Silva-Farrell, executive director of ALIGN, center, speaks during a protest against Amazon outside of City Hall in NY on January 30. But it wasn't a ploy, according to a person familiar with the matter. "In the face of some pretty normal political opposition - and that could be debated - if you go into a place like NY, you are going to expect folks to raise some questions".


"Certainly, in New York, State Senator Michael Gianaris has been very vocal in his opposition to Amazon's HQ2 plan", Bishop said.

A spokeswoman for Columbus, Ohio, Mayor Andrew Ginther told Barron's the city "turned in a strong proposal for Amazon HQ2 that we are proud of and one that made us a finalist in their search.We have no plans at this time to reach out specifically on this".

"This whole process shows why Amazon would have been a bad partner for NY". Julie Samuels, executive director of advocacy group Tech NYC, says, "Amazon's decision to withdraw from NY is no doubt a blow to our local economy and the tens of thousands of people the company would've employed here".

And Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the liberal firebrand whose district includes Long Island City, is among HQ2's opponents. Indeed, numerous people who reacted to Ocasio-Cortez's tweet expressed anger. "All due to ignorance and small mindedness", wrote one.

In its blog post, Amazon directly blames "some politicians" as being uncooperative.

Never ones to miss out on an opportunity to soapbox about politics or make light of a current event, the folks of Twitter got to work.

But Amazon had originally planned to hire 25,000 employees for its second headquarters and revitalize the area in which the facility would be located.

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