Following the announcement that Amazon plans to build its second headquarters in Long Island City, members of the New York City Council are exploring their legal options to challenge the move.
Council Speaker Corey Johnson and several other city council members voiced their concerns over the substantial tax breaks that were offered to Amazon by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to attract the world’s largest retailer to the state.
In particular, the Speaker spoke at a City Hall news conference over plans to allow Amazon to be exempt from the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Process. This process which would require approval from the local Community Board and other officials.
“I think something is fundamentally wrong when you are giving this much money away and public land away and it’s cloaked in secrecy,” Johnson said.
Johnson also touched on the city’s plans to help Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos build a helipad, stating “Hell, no!” before saying that Bezos “should take the E train or the 7 train to Court Square and get off.”
John Kaehny, from the government watchdog group Reinvent Albany, pointed out that come January, Democratic lawmakers will “have a veto over this deal through the Public Authorities Control Board.”
Protest held over Amazon move
Others in opposition of Amazon’s move to Long Island City includes NY State Senator Michael Gianaris who attended a protest near the Amazon building site. “We’re here to say to Amazon, take that welcome mat that was rolled out for you yesterday, put it back in the package it came in and send it back to Seattle where it belongs,” he shared.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also sounded off on her dislike for the deal. “One of the wealthiest companies in history should not be receiving financial assistance from the taxpayers while too many New York families struggle to make ends meet.”