LIC Better Off Without Amazon

New Yorkers should give themselves a pat on the back for fighting off the state’s latest corporate welfare scheme – a handout to lure Amazon into Queens.

Governor Cuomo’s administration and Empire State Development initially refused to offer any details on their incentive package. But once New Yorkers found out they would be handing over $3 billion to the world’s wealthiest company, there was massive opposition to the deal.

The Long Island City community immediately spoke out, as this closed-door bribe didn’t bother to consult New Yorkers or City lawmakers. Citizens and politicians on the left and the right united against subsidizing the tech giant.

Ultimately, Amazon chose to pull out of the deal stating, “the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term.” Read: Amazon wanted compliant and complicit public officials who won’t turn off the spigot of corporate welfare.

But New Yorkers aren’t losing out on anything. In fact, the Long Island City Partnership says LIC is the fastest growing residential neighborhood in the country. In addition, job growth in LIC is outpacing growth in the rest of New York City and the neighborhood is already home to major companies like JetBlue.

If anything, LIC residents should be glad they avoided the negative impacts of Amazon moving in. The community was rightly worried about added strain to the Court Square subway station, which already averages over 23,600 riders per weekday. Many subway riders were concerned how the railways would handle thousands of additional commuters each day.

Business owners would have also gotten ripped off on real estate deals. Amazon was set to only pay $850,000 in rent each year. That came out to just over $9 per square foot for the company’s 8 million square foot expansion plan. Meanwhile, office space in LIC averages $42 per square foot.

Just imagine what LIC residents and businesses could do if they were given the same handouts Amazon was promised. But New Yorkers get the next best thing. They’ll be able to keep the $3 billion the Governor and the Mayor had promised away.

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