Protesters take to Long Island City to rally against Amazon`s new headquarters

Muriel Colon
November 15, 2018

That seems unlikely. While the subsidies Amazon is poised to collect in NY and Virginia are large, they are nowhere near the largest extracted from public coffers, nor were they the largest offered to the company by other locations competing to win its next headquarters. Both are waterfront communities away from overcrowded business districts, giving Amazon space to grow. Watch their remarks in the player above. The New York and Virginia tax credits are tied to the number of jobs the company actually creates.

"The government will also work with Amazon on record requests to redact portions of the materials to 'the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, '" the Washington Examiner continued, adding that helicopter access was also part of the deal, so Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos can fly into the headquarters.

Google is also expanding in NY, amplifying the talent war, said Julia Pollak, a labor economist with online jobs marketplace ZipRecruiter.

The communities will pay for it: NY is forking over more than $1.5 billion in tax credits and other incentives, while Arlington is offering about a third of that - $573 million.

Virginia also agreed to help Amazon build and operate a helipad at its new site at the company's expense. "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".

According to NY officials the combined incentives offered for the Queens site total almost $3 billion, including both direct grants and tax breaks and commitments to improvements related to the project. It also makes movies and TV shows, runs an advertising business and offers cloud computing services to corporations and government agencies.

Amazon, for its part, has said each HQ2 location will employ over 25,000 people.

Amazon's search for a second headquarters captured the attention of almost every economic development agency in the country, with more than 200 submitting bids to land what had originally been described as 50,000 jobs and billions in investment. Roughly one-third of residents in Washington, D.C., and 40 percent in NY pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing, the groups, which include LeRoy's Good Jobs First, pointed out. Google already has more than 7,000 workers in the city and, according to media reports, is looking to add 12,000 more in coming years.

The funds, which have to be appropriated by the Virginia General Assembly, are created to decrease slightly in value if more than 10% of the new hires are focused on federal government contracts.

And Crystal City, across from the nation's capital, is made up of 1980s-era office towers. The facility was floated as a means of providing Amazon with a pipeline of continuous skilled talent including the engineers they prioritize above others.

The new outposts won't appear overnight.

Out of concern that Amazon's arrival could make homes prohibitively expensive, buyers around Crystal City are suddenly rushing to close on sales, said Brian MacMahon, a real estate agent with Redfin in Northern Virginia.

But the significant size of incentives offered by NY and Virginia - locations that were considered likely choices for a corporate expansion all through Amazon's search process - have infuriated the company's critics.

The press release noted that Amazon is planning to invest $5 billion between the two headquarters and that the project would create more than 50,000 new jobs - more than 25,000 at each site.

Expect the tug of war between tech companies to be felt more so in Arlington, a job market where the pay disparity between Amazon's promised wages and average tech salaries is greater but the supply of qualified job candidates is tighter, one tech recruiter told Yahoo Finance. It plans to hold company-wide events at the new locations, including shareholder meetings.

Meanwhile, Lina Khan, a senior fellow with the Open Markets Institute, wrote in a Twitter post on Tuesday: "Amazon extracting highly favourable terms, only to halve its promise and expect those same terms, is an exercise of bargaining power that will be familiar to numerous millions of merchants reliant on Amazon's platform".

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