The Amazon Backlash
NY State Senator Michael Gianaris is leading the efforts to stop Amazon from opening up a large presence in the borough of Queens in NYC.
I get that this makes for good politics at some level. Standing up for the taxpayer and expressing outrage at a massive tax giveaway to the one of the wealthiest companies in the world, run by one of the wealthiest people in the world, makes for great stump speeches.
But there is one problem with all of that. The voters and taxpayers in Queens, particularly the minority voters and taxpayers, approve of Amazon’s move to Queens by very large margins.
The very people that Gianaris and others like Ocasio-Cortez represent and are “standing up for” want Amazon in Queens by large margins.
What the voters and citizens of Queens seem to understand is that this is a once in a decade type opportunity to change the face of a borough and a city.
As historian Kenneth Jackson explained in this excellent NY Times Op-Ed piece yesterday, history shows that the economic fortunes of cities change quickly with once dominant industries moving on and new ones arriving. This is a fantastic opportunity for NYC to cement its role as a leading tech sector and one that should not be missed. There is no guarantee that the NYC of tomorrow will be as vital as the NYC of today. We have to work to make it so and this effort to recruit Amazon to NYC is exactly the kind of work which will make it so.
My friend Kathy Wylde also penned an important argument in favor of Amazon in yesterday’s Daily News. Kathy explains that Queens has been planning for this sort of thing in Long Island City for over a decade and many of the issues that the rabble rousers are raising have been considered, planned for, and are already being worked on.
In my view, politicians like Gianaris and Ocasio-Cortez are being irresponsible and reckless in their opposition to Amazon while playing politics with something that is without question good for NYC, good for Queens, and good for their voters. Their voters know it and so should they.