Amazon's exit could scare off tech companies from NY

Bezos world's richest man shows won't be pushed around

Bezos world's richest man shows won't be pushed around

NY mayor Bill de Blasio, mulling a presidential run, sought on Sunday to burnish his progressive credentials by accusing Amazon of caring only about "corporate image" when it abruptly chose to pull out of building its second headquarters, or HQ2, in Long Island City. It may be only half that many jobs depend on the incentives, he said.

Cities from Seattle to NY are raising taxes, or trying to, imposing minimum wages of $15 an hour and requiring even small businesses to give workers expensive health and vacation benefits. Members of the New York City Council joined in, grilling company executives at hearings in December and January over their record with unions and about the closed-door negotiations with state and city officials that had produced the biggest project-based incentive package in state history.

The Amazon deal in NY wasn't the only one that fell through recently.

Despite higher costs, New York City remains attractive to tech companies because of its vast, diverse talent pool, world-class educational and cultural institutions and access to other industries, such as Wall Street capital and Madison Avenue ad dollars. "If this was 2012, 2013, and we had more typical levels of unemployment, you'd have half as much opposition and their voices wouldn't be as powerful".

State Rep. Greg Razer, the openly gay Kansas City Democrat who tried unsuccessfully to add LGBT protections to Missouri House rules last month, argued that "it's nearly 2020".

"The reality of this economy is facing political backlash", said Amy Liu, director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.

'For decades, wealth and power have concentrated at the very top. A television report showed people unfurling signs saying, "Amazon delivers lies", and "Amazon fuels ICE deportations" - a reference to the company's co-operation with the U.S. Department in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). But more and more, tolerance and diversity are not just highly valued by businesses, but mandatory. He said he knew something was wrong right from the start with the Amazon deal.

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"This is a disaster on all fronts", said Richard Florida, a professor at the University of Toronto School of Cities. She also said that she communicated to the company that she believed the Senate and Amazon would work together. "Why don't you come take a tour & see for yourself ... we'd love to have you!"

In the case of NY, there was also concern about straining infrastructure, such as subway lines, and driving up the price of already expensive real estate. "I'm relieved because I'm a renter here", said one female resident of the Queens neighborhood who declined to give her name. Protesters stormed a New York Amazon bookstore on the day after Thanksgiving and then went to a rally on the steps of a courthouse near the site of the new headquarters in the pouring rain.

The rising concerns about gentrification have contributed to the growth of an outspoken, anti-corporate wing of the Democratic Party, spurred as well by opposition to President Trump.

After lobbying hard to win the deal, De Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have faced anger from local politicians and community organizers who objected to their lack of involvement in the process, and to the $3 billion in government incentives for a company valued at close to $1 trillion while the city is facing budget cuts.

Those who switched positions included state Sen.

'Amazon's capricious decision to take its ball and go home, in the face of protest, won't diminish that anger. Mike Gianaris, who represents the project site in Queens, was nominated on February 4 to the Public Authorities Board. Political observers said another factor was fear of a left-wing primary opponent in future elections. He said Arlington and Alexandria officials had been briefed about Amazon in closed sessions multiple times as well.

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