Amazon has canceled its plans to expand its presence into New York City amidst fierce backlash and resistance from several local lawmakers, activists, union members as well as common residents. This decision was very abrupt and left many people on both sides of the aisle with lots of mixed emotions. Amazon’s growth in recent years has been spectacular with soaring sales and increasing stock price, propelling its founder and CEO to the position of the world’s richest man. After it announced plans to establish a second headquarters, over 100 cities began a hotly contested race filled with all kinds of subsidies and tax breaks to attract the e-commerce behemoth.
Experts estimated that the second HQ would have added approximately 50,000 jobs in the Big Apple, in addition to other social outreach programs and skill development centers. Amazon’s sudden change of heart is definitely a blow to the government’s efforts to diversify the economy and attract big names from the technology sector.
The opposition to Amazon’s expansion arose because of the massive tax breaks and incentives of about $3 billion that was promised to it. Furthermore, Amazon has developed a bad reputation regarding its employees’ working conditions, opposition to unionization of workers and collaboration with federal immigration officials. Other reasons include changing a city’s landscape, culture, and economy. It is a commonly observed phenomenon that large tech companies bring increasing prices of living in their wake and also adversely affect small businesses like family-owned cafes, restaurants, departmental stores etc. that have in place for several years.
According to reports, lawmakers have been trying to negotiate with Amazon for better terms.