Amazon has been trying to establish its new headquarters in New York City since 2017, but the online giant recently halted the deal amidst public backlash and local opposition.
The deal was expected to bring nearly 40,000 jobs to NYC along with billions of dollars in tax revenue to the state. However, activists and politicians alike admonished the deal due to Amazon’s history of anti-unionism and the tax breaks the corporation was expected to receive as a result.
“Defeating an unprecedented act of corporate welfare is a triumph that should change the way we do economic development deals in our city & state forever,” tweeted Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
But some are mourning the loss of the deal.
Economists posit that the deal had the potential to bring other tech firms to the city, resulting in a positive feedback loop for the area. After all, nearly nine out of 10 Americans use the internet, many of whom buy products online. It’s estimated that the number of global fashion consumers alone will reach 1.2 billion by 2020.
Should the deal have moved forward, others claim that the tax revenue would have helped revitalize the city’s infrastructure and provide jobs to less-skilled workers. This is especially necessary for areas like New York City where the gap between skilled and unskilled, rich and poor, is growing ever-larger.
Many people are living in crumbling apartments and other down-on-their-luck areas. Even though the average American home uses up to 40% less energy than 40 years previously, many areas have yet to see this progression.
The construction of the headquarters alone would have promoted more than 1,500 jobs in construction. As New York City struggles to become the world’s next tech hub, many are seeing it as a step backward.
Casey Newton, writer for The Verge, disagrees.
In a recent post, the writer claims this promise would not have panned out in the end. He notes that similar moves have been made in other large cities, like San Francisco. The result? A ruthless economy.
“If you’re among the sea of hotel and restaurant workers that Porter describes, you know you’re likely never going to be qualified for one of the jobs that Amazon is creating in your backyard. Even if the company belatedly promised a job retraining programs for workers with fewer skills,” he writes.
“Moreover, if you have paid attention to the experience of other global tech capitals […] you know that the arrival of high-paying jobs is typically accompanied by an extraordinary rise in rents. The rising cost of living can push homeownership even further out of reach for most workers,” he continues.
A new rumor has sprung up that Amazon will also pull out of Amazon Go stores in Philadelphia, a cashless store that had the potential to create 100 jobs or more. Philly was one of the top 20 finalists for this new business venture.