New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo accused New York State Senators opposing Amazon.com Inc.'s plans to build a new headquarters in Long Island City in Queens of "governmental malpractice."
The Democrat made his remarks while announcing his 2020 budget proposal for Long Island. They come the same day The Washington Post reported that Amazon is reportedly reconsidering its decision to build the headquarters in New York. The state is offering Amazon a $1.7 billion incentive package.
"It is irresponsible to allow political opposition to overcome sound government policy. You're not there to play politics. You're there to do what's right for the people of the State of New York," Cuomo said at the event. The governor's office distributed a link to a video of the event to reporters.
New York State Sen. Michael Gianaris, a vocal critic of Amazon's proposal, was nominated to a seat on the state's Public Authorities Control Board, The Wall Street Journal reported Feb 4. The board approves financing for state projects. To get a seat on the board, Cuomo needs to approve Gianaris' nomination.
Cuomo warned the state's Senate Democrats of the political backlash their opposition to the deal to could bring if Amazon takes its headquarters to a different city.
"I would not want to be a Democratic Senator coming back to my district to explain why Amazon left — because I pandered to their politics. It would be a tremendous loss. It is the largest economic development transaction in the history of the state of New York," he said.
Despite the intense pushback the e-commerce retailer has gotten from local lawmakers, Tom Forte a senior research analyst at D.A. Davidson said Amazon has what it takes to push through with its plans.
"When it comes to lobbying and politics, Amazon is incredibly savvy and I think the way they managed the HQ2 process from a political standpoint is evidence of how savvy they are," Forte said in an interview.
For some critics, including U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., the bone of contention is not about Amazon coming to New York City but rather about the incentives the city and state have promised the multibillion dollar company.
"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," Gillibrand said in a tweet following Amazon's announcement of its HQ2 decision in November 2018.
Founder of TJI Research, Justin Smith said Amazon might be willing to renegotiate parts of the deal to pacify its skeptics.
"I could see some of the details potentially being revised in order to get more local officials on board, but I would be surprised if the whole thing fell apart," Smith said in an interview.
Smith added that Amazon's attraction to New York goes beyond the incentives package. New York is already home to several tech companies and "Amazon needs access to a large qualified workforce to hire 25,000 people," he said.