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09 February 2019, 12:25 | Hattie Nash
Amazon has been derided by some NY politicians, who have been critical of the project and its almost $2 billion in incentives cities agreed to provide in exchange for an estimated 25,000 well-paid jobs.
Amazon is reportedly rethinking its promise to build a headquarters in New York City after receiving pushback from local officials and residents, sources toldThe Washington Post.
Instead, the economic development plum of the century known as HQ2 - with a $5 billion investment and 50,000, six-figure jobs - would be divided between Crystal City, Va. and the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, N.Y.
In November, Amazon said it would branch out from its home base in Seattle with plans to create more than 25,000 jobs in two new developments.
Though, unlike in Virginia, where elected officials passed the state's incentive package fairly quickly, approval from NY is not expected until 2020.
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who campaigned against the subsidy package, celebrated the news that Amazon may be reconsidering the whole deal. Let's keep it going!"added Make the Road New York, a state-level advocacy group".
Amazon executives have had internal discussions recently to reassess the situation in NY and explore alternatives, the Postreported.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomoframed the original announcement as a tremendous job creation opportunity for the entire New York region.
The announcement, however, was immediately by local NY politicians.
"We're focused on engaging with our new neighbors - small business owners, educators, and community leaders", an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. A City Hall source confirmed the city reached out as well.
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Amazon may also have a Plan B. One of the twenty finalists for HQ2 was Newark, New Jersey, just across the border from New York City.
But critics objected to the massive subsidies NY offered to lure the tech behemoth.
Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said if the Amazon deal falls apart they will have nobody to blame but themselves.
"For the state senate to oppose Amazon was governmental malpractice", Cuomo said. "A major problem is the way the deal was put together, shrouded in secrecy and ignoring what New Yorkers want and need".
A half dozen more hearings are scheduled for January through March in advance of a vote by the New York State Public Authorities Control Board, which according to state law has final say over the "approval of the financing and construction of any project proposed by state public benefit corporations".
"I think it's really encouraging to show that government and all of us primarily have a responsibility to the communities that we directly impact", Ocasio-Cortez told CNN on Friday. Update, 1:56 p.m. PT: Adds comments from Cuomo and critics of the project.
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