Editorial: Amazonian giveaway to a giant

After months of speculation on where Amazon would decide to hold court, the online retail giant finally announced the locations of its headquarters, which will be split in two cities: Crystal City, Virginia and Long Island City in New York.

It didn’t take long before City Hall and nearly every politician in town crowed about Amazon’s promise to make at least 25,000 hires  in positions paying an average of $150,000, after being promised up to $2.2 billion in state and city giveaways. Of course good-paying jobs are a benefit to New Yorkers. However, we still can’t help but feel the city has really turned its back on small businesses this time.

As the long-stalled effort to get the Small Business Jobs Survival Act passed proves, no one is afraid to parrot the real estate industry’s argument that the demise of mom-and-pops has more to do with online shopping than exorbitant rent. At the hearing for the SBJSA, a representative of the city’s Small Business Services agency argued against the bill, warning of “unintended consequences” like landlords being more hesitant to lease to small businesses.

But in the haste to net this big fish, have the mayor and the governor not stopped to think about what the unintended consequences are of bending over backwards to court a corporation when the existing businesses in this city get no tax breaks and pay high rent with very little lease negotiating power?

While the location of Amazon’s offices won’t change anything in New Yorkers’ shopping habits, our takeaway from this deal is that we wish the city was this motivated to help mom-and-pops, ones whose owners didn’t expect a massive payout just to open, operate and hire locally, but who chose to do so and could use a break, any break really, a lot more than Amazon can.

On that note, November 24 is Small Business Saturday. Town & Village encourages readers to shop local.

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3 thoughts on “Editorial: Amazonian giveaway to a giant

  1. Good insight on what is really needed for a stable economy, which if government appreciated and committed to help , they would not need to pay businesses to open in NYC. The SBS testimony at the hearing opposing the only real solution to save our businesses was a disgrace.
    On average the NYC courts evict 500 commercial properties per MONTH! With an estimated 1,200-400 closing each month citywide. The largest small business survey of 1K Hispanic owned businesses showed on average 8 employees. The SBS and de Blasio administration opposes any legislation saving 9,600 jobs each month and 115K-130K jobs each year. Why
    would they maintain a failed economic policy which results in the unintended consequences of paying wealthy companies to open up in NYC? Isn’t there anyone at City Hall with any economic background who know it makes more sense to SAVE the long establishes successful businesses that have a history of job creation? A city of empty storefronts where once thriving businesses were shows the real estate lobby makes economic policy in NYC
    and made the Amazon deal.

  2. No surprise who’s been quiet about all this – our councilman. His Sunshine in the City campaign included this “Save neighborhood stores with tax reform, limits on big box expansion, and #Shoplocal initiatives.”

    Nobody has been more quiet on small businesses than Powers – the son of a small businessman.

    Maybe there’s an Antifa-Proud Boys scuffle somewhere that he’s tending to.

    • And don’t get me wrong, I do think Powers has the work ethic to get things done. The problem is he is like all other Democrat politicians in this state – worried about a level above them. Powers job is our district, but he worries more about citywide issues. DeBlasio and Cuomo care more about national recognition than city and state issues.

      It really is a problem, and I believe this is partially why Trump won – he ran on a pro-American platform, while others focused on international issues a bit more. Politicians need to get back to working for their constituents, not worrying about their eventual political advancements, which is all they are doing.

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