In a series of tweets Monday night, Ocasio-Cortez criticized the tax breaks New York has offered Amazon and questioned whether the company plans to pay high wages, provide benefits, and hire from the existing community.
“Amazon is a billion-dollar company. The idea that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need MORE investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here,” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez, who will represent parts of Queens and the Bronx come January.
The financial incentive package New York offered includes performance-based direct incentives of over $1.5 billion, based on the company creating 25,000 jobs in Long Island City. According to the Amazon press release, the city will receive an estimated incremental tax revenue of more than $10 billion over the next 20 years.
Amazon’s HQ2 will also bring 25,000 full-time jobs (which Amazon describes as “high-paying”), roughly $2.5 billion in investment, and “4 million square feet of energy-efficient office space with an opportunity to expand to 8 million square feet.”
According to Ocasio-Cortez, however, “Displacement is not community development. Investing in luxury condos is not the same thing as investing in people and families.”
The 29-year-old representative added that Amazon should be “met with skepticism” if it fails to provide quality healthcare, living wages, and affordable rent.
Long Island City’s congresswoman, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, has not commented on Amazon’s HQ2 announcement, but she was one of several officials to sign a letter to Amazon promoting New York City as its headquarters when the city was still under consideration.
New York State Sen. Mike Gianaris and New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Long Island City, were also signers on that letter, but have since withdrawn their support, citing similar concerns to Ocasio-Cortez.