We could be a click away from losing the biggest economic boom this state has ever received from a single company.
We could be just a click away from losing 25,000 jobs with average wages of $ 150,000 a year, $ 27 billion in tax revenues over the next 25 years and the potential for new schools, transit, housing and a burgeoning technology industry.
We could be just a click away from becoming the notorious state for turning its back on business development.
After courting Amazon and winning an offer for one of the two new headquarters, we do everything we can to send it away. According to The Washington Post, the company is seriously considering withdrawing its plans for Long Island City.
That would be catastrophic for the city, the region and the state.
There is one person who can undo the damage: Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Majority Leader in the State Senate.
So far, Stewart cousins has been playing a game. And not good. While they have not commented on the incentives of the state and the city – most of them tax credits for the future – their plot speaks more than their words.
Stewart's cousin appointed her deputy, Senator Michael Gianaris, to the Public Authorities Inspectorate, from which he alone could refuse. And Gianaris has made his position clear, saying that the deal with Amazon is terrible that the state should not offer a prosperity to a company controlled by the richest man in the world. Whatever Gianaris does, Stewart cousins now owns.
Stewart's cousins represent more than their district of Westchester County. As one of the three most powerful people in the state government, it also represents the interests of the entire state. Therefore she has to withdraw the nomination of Gianaris to the control authority. Stewart's cousins now have to make that change if they want to send a signal that their candidate will be open-minded, and check the portion of the incentives and tax credits that the panel has to approve: a capital grant of up to $ 505 Millions on the condition that Amazon invests 3.6 billion dollars and creates 40,000 jobs in 15 years. New US $ 1 billion in New York City incentives totaling $ 2.9 billion would go to any developer who chooses this location.
There is little reason for Amazon to stay in the process and go a long way in environmental analysis, approvals, hearings, and more, when business executives know that Gianaris will end up trying to block the deal.
Sources say Amazon officials have contacted Gianaris for a face-to-face meeting and he refused. And although Gianaris has been trying to go back a bit in the last few days, maybe that's not enough. The board, in which he would sit, is to judge the offers that he examines, only on tax concerns: The state has the $ 505 million he has pledged to Amazon for its $ 3.6 billion construction and Employment obligation to pay?
Instead, Gianaris plays against anti-corporate voices such as US MEP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has hailed the idea of Amazon's exit from New York. There is speculation that Gianaris fears that her followers will put him in the limelight from the left if he does not swing himself. Surveys show, however, that his district strongly supports Amazon's HQ2 plans.
Unfortunately, Gianaris still thinks this is a knife fight with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
"There's only one person to blame for this terrible drama, and that's Andrew Cuomo," Gianaris tweeted on Friday. "Here's a man who negotiated a dreadful deal in complete secrecy, and he's upset if people disagree with him."
If this week has brought us something, then the Amazon owner Jeff Bezos is not bullied and does not play other players' games. When Bezos accused American Media Inc. and its boss David Pecker of being blackmailed and blackmailed for having a marital affair and emails that revealed embarrassing details to everyone, it was clear that he would not bow to the National's demands of the requester
The stakes here are high. New York's finances and economic future are at best precarious. A decision by Amazon to drop its plans for Long Island City will not help. A setback would be further diversification of the regional economy with a powerful technology sector that would reduce Wall Street dependency.
This is particularly important for Long Island, which is trying to build its own technology corridor with a focus on life sciences and biotechnology. The presence of Amazon would give the island credibility, an opportunity for companies that have access to a growing talent pool, and the chance to be part of a larger cluster of companies. It would bring young people to Long Island and raise house prices.
If Amazon goes down, why would a company decide to come to the region after seeing an anti-corporate and anti-business struggle that was going on?
The six senators of the Long Island state in the Democratic Caucus of Stewart cousins must make it clear to them that they support the Amazon project and know how important it is for their constituents and for the region. The new Long Island Six must come together with one voice and lead here.
There is still a chance to do the right thing to show that the state really cares about its economic future, and even to fight to achieve the infrastructure improvements that the city and state expect from the Amazon deal.
But if Amazon decides to move to another location and take over 25,000 jobs and more, our children and children of our children will have to do the same.