It happened: Amazon cancelled its plan to have HQ2 in New York. The politicians went out on Twitter, public statements, etc lambasting Amazon for its “greed”. Yes, how can you give tax breaks to one of the largest corporations in the world? How can you send dollars from working New Yorkers to ask a company managed by the richest man in the world to come? Why can’t Amazon just make New York home without the “additionals”?
Simple answer: Amazon is a conglomerate and conglomerates tax cities and nations. Yes, because of their accumulated capabilities and the fact they pursue business frictions at the upstream level, doing things few can do, they run the world and no one can write them off via tweets.
New York made a mistake by wasting Amazon time: 100 new startups cannot handle the problems Amazon can fix in New York, just as 1,000 startups, in Nigeria, cannot fix problems Dangote Group (think refinery) can fix in Nigeria. And because of that positioning, enabled by accumulated capabilities, conglomerates tax where they operate: yes, the Conglomerate Tax.
The good news is that New York leaders now want Amazon back and have gone public begging Jeff Bezos to come to New York, and “tax” the city, for the hope of transforming it. Here’s the open full letter, reproduced from The Times:
Dear Mr. Bezos:
New Yorkers do not want to give up on the 25,000 permanent jobs, 11,000 union construction and maintenance jobs, and $28 billion in new tax revenues that Amazon was prepared to bring to our state. A clear majority of New Yorkers support this project and were disappointed by your decision not to proceed. We understand that becoming home to the world’s industry leader in e-commerce, logistics and web services would be a tremendous boost for our state’s technology industry, which is our fastest growing generator of new jobs. As representatives of a wide range of government, business, labor and community interests, we urge you to reconsider, so that we can move forward together.
We know the public debate that followed the announcement of the Long Island City project was rough and not very welcoming. Opinions are strong in New York—sometimes strident. We consider it part of the New York charm! But when we commit to a project as important as this, we figure out how to get it done in a way that works for everyone.
Governor Cuomo will take personal responsibility for the project’s state approval and Mayor de Blasio will work together with the governor to manage the community development process, including the workforce development, public education and infrastructure investments that are necessary to ensure that the Amazon campus will be a tremendous benefit to residents and small businesses in the surrounding communities.
New York attracts the best, most diverse talent from across the globe. We are a dynamic new center of the country’s most inclusive tech economy. We all hope you reconsider and join us in building the exciting future of New York.
The letter was signed by dozens of New York civic and business figures, including religious, education, union, political, and tech leaders.
Cuomo [the NY Governor] has directly spoken with Amazon executives, including Bezos, on multiple occasions over the past two weeks to try to get the company to reconsider, according to The Times.
Amazon has given no indication that it is reconsidering its New York HQ2 decision. Last month, Amazon’s head of policy communications, Jodi Seth, told NBC News that the decision was “pretty firm” and not open to renegotiation.