New York lawmakers try their best to spin Amazon lease

Amazon has decided to lease 335,000 square feet of office space in New York City after famously ditching its plans to build a second headquarters in the city. According to Amazon, the company’s move will create 1,500 new jobs in the city.

New York lawmakers, who were personally responsible for destroying the headquarters deal over tax incentives, were quick to take credit for the lease. See, the company will do business here without tax breaks! Our philosophy of cranking up taxes on the “rich” and breaking the state budget on social services is actually good for the economy! We can math!

Won’t you look at that: Amazon is coming to NYC anyway – *without* requiring the public to finance shady deals, helipad handouts for Jeff Bezos, & corporate giveaways.

Maybe the Trump admin should focus more on cutting public assistance to billionaires instead of poor families.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 6, 2019

Me waiting on the haters to apologize after we were proven right on Amazon and saved the public billions— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 6, 2019

The Amazon headquarters would have brought 25,000 new jobs to the city, with most of them being high-level, high-wage jobs. Instead, New York City is getting a small fraction (1,500) of the original plan and they are getting marketing folks. Yay?

They are also talking about Amazon leasing space there as if that makes them special. Amazon is buying up properties across the country at a pace you wouldn’t believe.

If you look at Amazon’s annual 10-K filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, Amazon is currently sitting on 288 million square feet of real estate, including offices, warehouses, and data centers. The company adds 70 million+ square feet to its real estate portfolio every year. Congratulations to New York City on capturing 0.05% of that goodness. Boy, you sure know how to play the game.

Telling Amazon to pound sand over bringing a headquarters to the city and then declaring victory because you got a 335,000 square-foot lease is batshit. Telling them to take their corporate executives elsewhere and then rejoicing because you got marketing grunts is batshit. But such is the logic of Millennials who hate The Man.

Amazon can’t afford to leave any region of the country fully ignored. They are in the business of logistics. The company was never going to fully stop investing in New York City over the headquarters war. But that’s not the same as saying that Amazon is making New York City its most privileged location.

We are at a very interesting point in American economic history, where theses about how important tax structure is to people and corporations in choosing where to live is being actively tested. So far, New York’s tax structure has been a major liability for commerce in the state. To suggest otherwise is fake news.

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