The decision last week by Amazon to pull out of a deal to build a second headquarters in New York City, caused a ripple effect of concern across the region, with local business organizations and government officials expressing how they feel the change of plans affects their specific neighborhoods.
The debate took on political overtones as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio worked a deal to award the business giant with $3 billion in tax incentives and rebates to attract them to the area. According to CNN Business the deal included the company creating 25,000 new jobs with an average salary of $150,000.
On the one hand, the more moderate to conservative business voices praised the deal, seeing the entrance of such a large and formidable company to the region a boon for everyone and the retraction of the deal an unfavorable detraction to the overall economic attractiveness of the area for other potential business interests.
On the other hand, newly elected legislators with more socialist leanings from the district where the new facility would be built, claimed Amazon should not be able to take public money while they “crack down on unions and workers’ rights, increase deportations of our immigrant neighbors, and fuel gentrification and rising rents,” according to a statement released by the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (NYC-DSA) on Friday.
In comments to the media, Amazon owner Jeff Bezzos indicated the decision to pull out came because the attacks were beginning to impact the company negatively in the market at large.
Taking a regional view, White Plains Mayor Tom Roach released the following statement on Friday: “The decision by Amazon to walk away from their proposed project in New York City represents a significant economic loss to the region. It is difficult to imagine a scenario in which the tens of thousands of jobs created by Amazon directly and through the halo effect of their investment can be replicated in the near term. We have worked hard in White Plains to bring quality jobs to our city by creating an environment that attracts the talent pool sought by employers large and small, and we are seeing great results. We will continue to do that work despite today’s setback.”
In a later interview with The White Plains Examiner, Roach explained that with regard to NYC, “White Plains is like a moon of Jupiter. We have our own atmosphere, but we are impacted by what happens there; the entire region is.”
Roach noted that White Plains’ focus is to attract businesses of appropriate size to its community and that has been working out well for the city.
William Mooney, Jr. President and CEO, Westchester County Association, lamented the loss of the Amazon deal. “It is unfortunate that short-sighted politicians could not understand the long-term benefits and the performance-based nature of the incentives offered to Amazon. The lost opportunities for economic growth and new revenues in New York, including Westchester County and the Hudson Valley will further impact our ability to be competitive. It is incumbent upon all of us to work together and not miss out on future opportunities,” Mooney said.
Mike Oates, President and CEO Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation said, “This is like fumbling the football on the one-yard line in the Super Bowl. This will have far-reaching effects in New York, including Westchester County and the Hudson Valley. New York will have to work even harder in the future to offset this negative outcome. As New Yorkers, we need to come together to embrace opportunities in the future.”