New York Assemblymember Ron Kim has introduced a bill to block $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars from going to Amazon as part of a corporate welfare deal to build a headquarters in new York City.
Amazon was offered more corporate welfare to build another headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, bringing he total to $3 billion in taxpayer handouts.
Kim, who co-authored an op-ed in the New York Times titled “New York Should Say No to Amazon,” explained to Democracy Now why he opposes the massive tax credits for Amazon and wants the money to go toward student debt relief:
I’m introducing legislation to call back this deal, under the New York state Constitution—actually clearly states that we’re not allowed to give any corporate subsidies or money to the private sector or business or corporation. They’re getting around it by working with quasi-government agencies, that was designed, for the last 60 years, to execute this type of transfer of wealth. And we can redesign it.
Because we designed it, we can redesign it to work for the people of New York. What’s the point of having a majority progressive Democrat state Senate, that we worked so hard for in the state of New York, if we can’t stop one man from transferring $3 billion of taxpayers’ money to the richest man on this planet?
Kim said he has received support from people in Seatlle where Amazon is based:
Ever since I came out strongly opposing this, I’ve received countless emails from people from Seattle telling me what’s been happening there as residents, how they’ve artificially inflated the value of real estate, pricing people out, working families, middle-class, left and right.
There are absolutely no safeguards in New York City under the terms that the governor has said. He can bring in whatever economist that is in-house and make up random numbers, unless we audit and have an outside-perspective economist dissecting every single one of these—one of the terms that he laid out.
There is no way we can guarantee the protection of people getting priced out of these type of communities and the largest affordable housing units.