Gillibrand criticizes financial incentives for Amazon

Gillibrand criticizes financial incentives for Amazon
© Camille Fine

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandCongress needs to bring family and medical leave policies into the 21st century Trump campaign fundraising on Bernie Sanders's M haul Gillibrand tells Iowan ‘ranch girl’ that pizza is on her next time MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday voiced reservations about the package of incentives New York offered Amazon to locate part of its new headquarters in Queens, echoing criticism from some progressives about the deal.

"While I’m glad that Amazon recognizes that Queens is a great place to do business, I’m concerned about the lack of community input and the incentives that Amazon received in order to convince them to bring those jobs to New York," Gillibrand said in a statement on Wednesday night.

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"One of the wealthiest companies in history should not be receiving financial assistance from the taxpayers while too many New York families struggle to make ends meet," she added.

Gillibrand's concerns mirrored those put forward by progressives like Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who will represent parts of Queens in the next Congress. Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday thanked Gillibrand for her statement. 

Gillibrand is considered a potential presidential candidate for 2020. She said last week that she is weighing her options, despite pledging during her recent re-election campaign to serve a full six years in the Senate.

Amazon announced on Tuesday that it had selected New York City and Arlington, Va., after a year-long search for its new HQ2 location and that it would be opening a logistics office in Nashville, Tenn. Between the three sites, Amazon will be receiving about $2.4 billion in performance-based tax incentives.

Under the terms of the deal for its New York office, which will be located in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City, Amazon will receive more than $1.5 billion in performance-based incentives, including one tax break in which the state will pay $48,000 for each of the 25,000 jobs that the office will bring.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) both trumpeted the deal as a significant economic success for the state and city. However, progressive lawmakers have questioned the extent to which the company will benefit the community given the tax breaks.