Growing Backlash May Be Enough to Make Amazon Back Out of New York

Photo Credit: Bebeto Matthews/AP/Shutterstock
February 8, 2019
Updated 3mo ago

By Amanda Weston

Amazon is reportedly having second thoughts about setting up in New York, after growing backlash from local politicians.

"They haven't changed their mind, but they are thinking of at least holding open the possibility that they might pull out and basically put the jobs somewhere else," Robert McCartney, senior regional correspondent at The Washington Post, told Cheddar Friday.

McCartney reported Friday that Amazon ($AMZN) executives have discussed possible alternative locations, citing confidential sources.

After the story was published, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) spoke out against leaders who have opposed the Amazon deal.

"For the state Senate to oppose Amazon was governmental malpractice," Cuomo said. "And if they stop Amazon from coming to New York, they're going to have the people of New York State to explain it to. It is irresponsible to allow political opposition to overcome sound government policy."

The Amazon relocation was complicated earlier this week by the nomination of a vocal Amazon critic to a board with the power to scuttle the deal. N.Y. Sen. Michael Gianaris, who represents the Long Island City neighborhood where the outpost would be built, could potentially veto the deal from his seat on the board, to which he was nominated by the state Senate's Democratic majority.

"This deal was put together without any consideration of the consequences," Gianaris told Cheddar Tuesday. "It was a bad deal and it's going to cost New York $3 billion, and the return on that is not nearly enough to justify it."

McCartney added it's not just the Senate that has Amazon concerned, but also some influential city council members.

Amazon's plan to establish a campus in the Long Island City neighborhood in New York would create 25,000 jobs, but locals have protested that the financial incentives offered to the company were too great. They have also expressed concerns about whether the city could handle the influx of workers.

Amazon is set to also create 25,000 jobs in Crystal City, Va. and 5,000 in Nashville, Tenn.

"The reactions there have been much more positive and welcoming, and so from Amazon's point of view, it's like, 'Why should we go someplace where there's this much hassle? Let's go someplace where we're genuinely wanted,'" McCartney said.

While the opponents in New York may be small in number, McCartney said they're well organized and very passionate.

"I think that if the opponents can sort of stick to their guns and keep raising a ruckus about this, a loud ruckus about this, and if the state Senate stands by its position, then I think they could well force Amazon to change its mind."

For full interview click here.