Second city council hearing with Amazon questions tax incentives
The New York City Council is still in the process of holding hearings to discuss the impact of Amazon’s decision to open a headquarters in New York. The council held second hearing, titled “Does the Amazon Deal Deliver for New York City Residents?,” on January 30 to discuss the deal’s tax incentives.
The council held the first hearing on December 12, led by the Economic Development Committee. This time, the whole council explored the tax incentives New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio offered Amazon in their bid as well as any potential impact on the city, its residents and its infrastructure. The city and state offered Amazon incentives that could total $3 billion.
Amazon’s commitment to the community and employees
Amazon Vice President of Public Policy Brian Huseman attended the second hearing and has suggested the deal would bring $27 billion in tax revenue to New York, which could be used to reinvest in the cities infrastructure, housing and healthcare. City Councilor Corey Johnson pushed back and suggested that if Amazon is using a study to come up with the $27 million figure, the council should know who paid for said study.
Huseman said the company would provide job opportunities in New York over 10 years. He also announced partnerships with area colleges and universities to create a cloud computing certificate program to demonstrate Amazon’s commitment to contributing positively to New York City. However, the council pointed out that the site chosen for Amazon’s HQ2 was originally designated for two public schools, 5,000 units of affordable housing, parks and commercial space.
Next hearing will allow comments
The third hearing will give community members a chance to make statements. Many protesters have attended both hearings to express their anger over the deal. However, a date for the third hearing has yet to be announced.
After the council’s hearings, the city and state legislature could choose to stop the deal. Governor Cuomo has suggested they have the power to do this and Amazon will need to “sell” its project to residents and lawmakers. Amazon will have to continue making its case and we will follow the council’s decisions along the way.