Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Closed-door meetings on unions preceded Amazon's withdrawal (newsday.com)
83 points by save_ferris 38 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 120 comments

I admit I was pretty shocked. Many people do not realize that Amazon leaving doesn't mean +$3B in their pocket it means $0 and even less than zero in the long term.

Also, Amazon wasn't forced to leave by the people, they chose to leave because of a toxic minority voice. The majority of voters wanted Amazon's development.

I wouldn't say this toxic minority is scary but they're certainly something to think about going g forward.

Finally, seems like I remember tech. on the East Coast was always a losing deal because of unions, taxes, and red tape. Isn't that why silicon valley started in the first place?

> Many people do not realize that Amazon leaving doesn't mean +$3B in their pocket it means $0 and even less than zero in the long term.

I don't think that logic makes sense. The absence of Amazon doesn't mean that the land is razed and the earth salted. It means other companies, without the $3B in concessions, can grow there instead. They could be other giant tech companies, they could be small businesses, they could be anything, but someone is likely to move forward with the land. It may or may not be $3B, but it certainly will be more than zero in the short term and the long term.

It might even be better for us in the long run. Instead of Amazon sucking up more talent in the NYC area, that talent is available to some other company (or companies) that can compete (nationally) with Amazon for it.

The land isn't either barren or occupied by Amazon crabgrass. Different things can grow there.

Reducing the number of employers is better for existing employers, yes. Less competition for labor. They will be able to get better talent and pay them less. That would be great, for them.

If talent was forbidden from leaving NY, that would be the case.

But talent is a plane ticket away from SF or Seattle so if SF or Seattle company pays more than NY company, the talent will move there.

If there are 10 thousand jobs created in Seattle instead of NY, the talent will leave NY for Seattle. Seattle will gain 10 thousand highly paid residents and NY (and other areas) will loose them.

That's the magic of a positive feedback loop: more employers mean more employees which means more employers.

Yes, it does create a more competitive market for both jobs and people.

Programmer A has to compete with programmer B for that great job.

Company A has to compete with company B for that great programmer.

Counter-intuitively, it leads to more stronger companies and programmers in a given area.

This is great for the overall ecosystem, less great if you're a weak programmer or company.

By this logic it shouldn't matter where any job is located. Why does anyone seem to care about where jobs are located then?

Yeah it's super easy to move your family to the other side of the country and lose all your friends and what not. Not a hard decision at all

A good amount of hiring in these sectors is for people straight out of college, who generally have no family and are expecting to make new friends anyway.

Also, if that's your argument, it makes a lot more sense for Amazon to open several small new offices through the country instead of a single new HQ in one city. (In fact another commenter is trying to argue against me on the grounds that people would be moving to NYC to take these jobs, and the lack of such moves is harming the NYC labor market. Perhaps the two of you should argue with each other.)

Amazon actually has quite a few local offices now. 2k+ SF, 400+ in Irvine, 150+ in Denver, STL, Chicago, etc.

Many of them went in as soon as Amazon figured out how to charge local sales tax in those states and happened in 2014-2015.

Of Amazon's total dev population about 25% is college age. Much more is 5+10 years out of college and where Amazon is looking to recruit.

>figure out how to charge local sales tax

That's laughable. Charging local sales tax was always a trivial excercise for Amazon. They fought it until they knew they couldn't win any more and then embraced it knowing that they would want to try to control the discussion and try to force any smaller competitors to comply as well to eliminate any advantage for their competition.

In other words, they never would have started charging local sales tax if they thought they could get away with it.

Amazon opening shop in NY will lead to having less employers and less competition in the long run, not more. Furthermore having less competition is not always better for the existing employers. It is much easier to complete with 10 local coffee shops than with a giant cooperation like Starbucks. Specially if the giant corporation is getting a massive tax break, has collective power of capital, but does not have to respond to collective power of labor (no unions).

we're saying here that less competition is bad and more competition is also bad

That’s not what I am saying. What I mean is that it has more to do with the circumstances than the number of competitors. In general more competition is better for consumers and less is better for business owners. But in this case it’s lose lose (with the only winner being Amazon) as it will reduce the number of local businesses long term while also making it harder for the remaining businesses to compete with Amazon due to the unfair handouts they were expecting to receive from the government.

> we're saying here that less competition is bad and more competition is also bad

I think you're thinking too short term. If all the most lucrative markets are dominated by the same few tech employers, then maybe they'll end up with another moat around themselves. That moat might be one that might actually be good for both the employers and the employees, but bad for everyone else.

The market position of the competitors matters.

I'm a data scientist in Seattle and there was a very strong possibility I was going to go over to NYC. now thats not going to happen. Instead, (for example NYU data science grads) are going to be moving to the west coast, being much more unavailable to other companies in the NY area.

You're acting like there's a dearth of job opportunities in New York without Amazon. This just isn't the case, even compared to the west coast.

I work at a small graphic/web design agency. My bosses moved from Los Angeles (where they grew up) to New York in order to start the business, because they believed there would be more opportunities here. Now, this was a decade ago, and maybe had they tried they would have done fine in California, but it's not nearly as clear cut as you're making it out to be.

I'm not sure I follow - is your claim that you were going to go to NYC because of the Amazon job market, or because you're currently employed by Amazon and your job was going to move?

There's a pretty healthy market for data scientists in NYC. I work at a well-paying (probably better-paying than Amazon, honestly) NYC tech/finance company that hires tons of data science people, and we're certainly not the only one. I don't think that the existence of some Amazon data science jobs in Seattle (or Nashville) instead of in NYC is going to meaningfully hurt the data science job market here.

the latter.

> "There's a pretty healthy market for data scientists in NYC."

NYC does have a good data science sector, although as a data scientist, you have to admit the prospects are no where near as good as west coast. the finance sector is awful to apply to because they are those companies that force you to sign up for websites, repeat everything you put in your resume, etc, but that's off topic.

My point above was that there were many talented people that would have been coming to NYC from Amazon, that would have been much more available, the complete opposite of a 'talent suck'. As we have already seen time and time again from cities like pittsburgh, jobs get more jobs. more specifically, when you increase the number of available jobs of a job category by a single company, there are even more of those type of jobs created by other companies.

> the finance sector is awful to apply to because they are those companies that force you to sign up for websites, repeat everything you put in your resume, etc, but that's off topic.

This isn't true in my experience btw - we use Greenhouse for hiring same as basically any other tech company. (And my manager^3 is ex-Amazon, as it happens.) If you want to write off the entire finance sector, that's your choice, but it is and will continue to be a significant part of the labor market in NYC so I think you're relatively non-representative in doing so. We do attract lots of non-NYC people to move to NYC to work for us.

> Instead of Amazon sucking up more talent in the NYC area, that talent is available to some other company (or companies) that can compete (nationally) with Amazon for it.

Right, and truly the best off cities for companies that need programmers are places like Tulsa or Phoenix, that have virtually zero tech companies of renown competing.

...OR, that's actually the opposite of the case, and network/ecosystem effects mean that the more talent you have, the easier it is to attract yet more talent.

And, this is particularly relevant in New York City, where there's not much land and a lot of demand for what's there. If this was rural Nevada, we'd be having a different discussion.

The $3B in incentives from the state and local governments is nothing. 25K jobs X $150K per year and all of the spending that goes with it, housing, restaurants, transportation, fitness, entertainment probably adds up to something like a $100B loss over the next decade.

NYC has about a 1.5 trillion dollar economy. So 25k*150k - 3.75 billion or .25%. Its not like they need amazon there. There are 1000s of other companies out there. Its like giving subsidies to sports stadiums. You are revitalizing the area around the sports stadium, but what you are doing is taking money that might have been spent in some other area of the city.

>Many people do not realize that Amazon leaving doesn't mean +$3B in their pocket it means $0 and even less than zero in the long term.

How is this any less laughable than the position you're chastising? LIC was already booming before the Amazon investment. The idea that Amazon will be replaced by nothing at all is ludicrous.

I dunno if that's accurate. "Lots of development + Amazon" is more than "lots of development." Amazon not being there doesn't necessarily mean there will be more of something else.

>Amazon not being there doesn't necessarily mean there will be more of something else...

I don't know man?

In most places I might agree with you, but in places like NYC and Silicon Valley?

Yeah, I'm pretty sure it means more of something else. Sometimes it can be easy to underestimate the size and dynamism of those two economic engines.

So you think the number of jobs in NYC is a fixed constant? That every extra job created by amazon is one less job elsewhere? That’s the literal opposite of dynamism.

If we're not able to significantly increase infrastructure for getting to work, whether roads, subways, ferries, or whatever, yes, the number of jobs in NYC is going to hit a cap pretty soon.

The usual way of solving this problem and continuing to scale a city is that you use tax revenue from new jobs to build additional public infrastructure. But the HQ2 deal made a point of giving up that tax revenue....

> But the HQ2 deal made a point of giving up that tax revenue....

But the subsidies will largely still be available to the next people to move in right? Meaning, you’ve effectively accomplished nothing, right?

If that's true, then yes, I agree that nothing was accomplished. Is it? I don't know the details of the deal and I'd be pretty unhappy if it's true....

(If you just mean "Amazon proved it's negotiable," I think Amazon pulling out equally proves that it's a political quagmire to try to negotiate it.)

That's basically what full employment means, and we pretty much there.

So a pile of 'something else' jobs would be replaced with shotty Amazon jobs - and the stories from their corporate offices and from their warehouses have been harrowing.

This is the opposite of what full employment means. Full employment means a fixed number of workers who mostly all have jobs already, not a fixed number of job opportunities. Adding more competition for labor during full employment means employers will be forced to make workers better offers, not worse offers. It does not mean every job can only be replaced by a worse job, it means the opposite of that.

The amount of jobs in global leading cities is usually constrained by housing, rather than the other way around. It’s an important point to note.

It’s highly likely, though. Supply and demand: less demand for real estate and employees means prices will be lower, which in turn means others will buy more.

Economics isn’t a zero-sum game, but neither is it a completely uncorrelated bag of stuff.

This view of supply and demand is incomplete. Under your line of thinking there would never be issues of over supply. Which is of course wrong. During the financial crisis there was too much supply of housing that wouldn't be purchased at any price. See farming as an industry where too much supply can result in the need to sell product at a loss. Supply and demand is not some magical system that always balances. Artificial interference and externalities can absolutely throw it into negative-sum territory.

That’s true in general, but we’re talking about 25,000 jobs in a thriving metro area of 20 million people. The situation isn’t anywhere near these extremes.

Small businesses will make up that 3B and more. This is New York not a small company town. Why put all your eggs in one basket?

What makes you think LIC wouldn't have seen both if Amazon stayed? Your line of thinking amounts to "the fewer big inevestments there are, the more smaller investments will make up for it."

There is limited space in New York. Amazon would have taken up more space and given less tax output. The offshoot businesses have even more limited space. Why would New York give away so much?

If they decided downtown Buffalo is the hq the state should have thrown money at them because that would change the area and provided space for many offshoot businesses. Win-Win

That's a good point that the net gain would be greater in an area like Buffalo. I can see how it's a less desirable locale from Amazon's point of view though. On your other point though, I though Amazon was building their own space, so that problem would be minor. Also, Google is eating progressively more space that already exists, so I'd view their expansions in NYC as a larger issue of taking up very limited space. Regardless of any of that though, I think Amazon brought it on themselves by making the whole process a year long spectacle for, I suppose, marketing issues or something, but it backfired.


I'm not sure what you mean. NYC being a thriving city with lots of employers and lots of growth even without the special concessions to Amazon is obvious to everyone. (Even Google, for instance, announced significant additional investment on top of their existing presence just a few days ago.) The effects of Amazon HQ2 are now a firm hypothetical. Is that what you mean by fantasy and reality?

What makes the minority voice toxic as opposed to merely dissenting?

I am willing to bet that the majority of Americans believe everyone should pay their fair share of taxes including corporations.

Sure. But whether they like other people's definition of "fair" is another matter.

The fact that GP disagrees with them.

bagacrap 38 days ago [flagged]

Less "toxic" than "vocal". The vocal minority often wins in politics (see: gun owners).

Gun owners have facts, and guns. Most are very quiet unless pressed (For their Opinion -edit). The vocal minority is the anti gun crowd, as you just exibited.

It's disheartening how one-sided you made a post that is ostensibly criticising the opposite one-sidedness of another post.


Wow, glad you read threats into everything. Pressed for their opinion, as it is clearly unpopular in public. Again, acting in bad faith.

I dunno. I think it was very easy to read threats into your opinion. I mean the fact that you specifically mentioned 'gun owners have facts, and guns' at the very beginning led me to believe you were insinuating that anyone who disagrees with your 'facts' would be met by said guns.

You're showing paranoia and absurd prejudice that the only way gun owners make noise is by shooting people. Thanks was nothing resembling a threat.

Rather than a "toxic minority" don't you think it might be that a segment of people were put off by backroom deals, large future subsidies, and Amazon's proven reluctance to help develop community infrastructure in Seattle?

> Amazon's proven reluctance to help develop community infrastructure in Seattle?

You'd be reluctant to develop community infrastructure if your "community" had no qualms about arbitrarily deciding to take more of your property, by force, year over year.

I think this was a foreseeable reaction to the wealthiest company in the world owned by the richest man in the world demanding legalized kickbacks while their not-employees piss in bottles and eat off food stamps. It's not a vocal minority treating Amazon unfairly at all, it's Amazon treating everyone unfairly and there's a lot of historical precedence for that backfiring.

There's also precedence for Amazon to convert as much of their workforce into non-employees dependent on 2nd jobs and 3rd jobs so their supposedly high paying jobs probably weren't going to last anyway. They're not in the business of creating high paying jobs, they pay highly while they must.

> Finally, seems like I remember tech. on the East Coast was always a losing deal because of unions, taxes, and red tape. Isn't that why silicon valley started in the first place?

There's a strain of thought that says that part of the reason tech is able to grow so wildly and create so much value is that it's too new to have been fully integrated into the wider, corrupt system of having profits from innovation regulated away and profits from regulatory capture built up. As you point out, California has historically been a refuge from things like this: Its distance from the historical seats of institutional power on the east coast (and the cultures of corruption that grew out of them) has provided an alternative for industries like Hollywood, Silicon Valley, etc. I don't entirely know how I feel about this theory, but it's certainly self-consistent.

Obviously, California isn't magically immune to the rent-seeking BS that sunk its hooks into other regions of the country a century ago, and as it becomes a more clearly dominant part of the economy, this is probably a temporary state of affair (anyone who's been in tech for longer than a decade has noticed how the rest of society suddenly woke up and went "oh shit, there's a lot of money over there, better start paying attention"; you can still find people throughout the industry with oldschool tech culture and values, but at least IME they're drowned out by the recent entrants chasing the money)

Your Hollywood origin story is a myth. Many of the first companies out there were Edison's. https://np.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/5ssgzn/did_fi...

rmrfrmrf 38 days ago [flagged]

Did you read the article? The implication is that union discussions caused the pullout, not the "toxic minority voices". It's more evidence of Amazon's relentless exploitation of labor.

> It's more evidence of Amazon's relentless exploitation of labor.

That's one interpretation. Another interpretation is it's more evidence of the inefficiencies and corruption created by the current unions.

The truth is probably somewhere in between.

How extreme would Amazon's position have to be before you would stop saying 'the truth is in the middle'?

Would it be Amazon demanding an office worker travel the day after her miscarriage?

> The Times has uncovered several cases where workers who were sick, grieving, or otherwise encumbered by the realities of life were pushed out of the company. A woman who had a miscarriage was told to travel on a business trip the day after both her twins were stillborn. Another woman recovering from breast cancer was given poor performance rankings and was warned that she was in danger of losing her job.

Would it be Amazon keeping ambulances at their warehouses rather than paying for air conditioning? Or working people hard enough that they had to pee in bottles and most people have to quit after 6 months because of the strain on their bodies?

rmrfrmrf 38 days ago [flagged]

Im not one for centrist truth synthesis. The only people who are against unions are those who are trained to be.

> The only people who are against unions are those who are trained to be.

It hurts your credibility to fail to acknowledge any legitimate critiques.


Ah yes, you have correctly identified the chief drivers of my political viewpoints: fear and stupidity. Very well then, it looks like our work here is done.

There is a direct correlation between the decline in unionism and the lack of growth in wages.

So acting like having no unions is a good thing is not actually true.

I'm certainly not saying "no unions are a good thing", generally speaking I think unions are a good thing (and that's as far into politics as I want to get on HN).

I am saying "there are drawbacks as well, and this 'evidence' points to the drawbacks as much as it points to the advantages". It's disingenuous to argue otherwise, and perhaps more importantly, isn't going to convince anyone who doesn't already agree with you because they will just take the other interpretation.

I think it's surprising that they'd be afraid of NYC unions, while operating without issue in Washington which is about just as union heavy as NY.

Why do people making $150,000 a year, working safe jobs behind a desk, need a union? If this was about unionizing their warehouse staff I could understand sinking the deal. But white collar people making six figures don’t need the legal and organizing framework a union provides (for example see the employee actions at Google over the last year).

I don't think you understand how large companies work.

An engineer is never negotiating their employment conditions with HR or with senior executives. It's with their direct line manager. Who often has no power to ask for anything like parental leave or some other workplace condition.

Unions negotiate at the VP of HR level and so they can demand significant changes.

> I don't think you understand how large companies work.

I've worked in multi-thousand person orgs with both unions and non-unions. I've been tasked with everything from installing satellite dishes on top of downtown office buildings to writing code in a climate controlled office.

I don't have an MBA in HR, but I do have my personal experiences and those of my coworkers. When I was installing satellite dishes it was great knowing I had union backup (even if work rules like carrying a geiger counter seemed a little over the top). When writing code the biggest risk I face is a repetitive stress injury, and a coder's salary goes a long way to buying my own ergonomic equipment.

That must be why tech companies have had increasingly nice working conditions and, in particular, markedly longer parental leave policies of late. All the unions.

That's more a reflection of a competitive market.

And it's definitely not all companies. Just the top tier ones.

Because controlling the conditions of your work is more than just a paycheck. Especially for tech workers whose work has a transformative impact on society. If you've ever been pressured into doing something unethical, that is a perfectly good rationale for forming a union.

What does the average salary or the presence of a desk have to do with this at all? Trade unions aren't just for poor people. I'll flip it around: what makes you think that only lower-class workers can benefit from collective bargaining?

I assumed the union talks were for the lower-paid foundation service staff more than the professional class, though I do think there's value in devs/ops organizing to demand more favorable work conditions.

At any rate, Amazon is worried about a snowball effect of other areas unionizing in New York's wake.

> The majority of voters wanted Amazon's development.

Please provide evidence of this statement.

Not wanting to subsidize one of the wealthiest companies in the world, and not wanting to drive up real estate prices even further, isn’t toxic. It’s compromise. Not everyone wants their city flooded with tech jobs and the problems it brings (see: SF and Seattle).

Disclaimer: Not an Amazon supporter. They’re a “toxic” corporation.

The only poll I'm aware of shows very strong support:


>A significant majority (56 percent) of all New Yorkers approved of the plan while 36 percent disapproved. Among New York City residents support was slightly stronger at 58 percent.

>Support was most pronounced among minorities: 70 percent of black voters approved while just 25 percent disapproved, and 81 percent of Latinos approved compared to 17 percent who disapproved.

Not sure about LIC in particular.

I think what the OP is referring to by "toxicity" is the intense hatred and lowered standard for truth that's typical for so much of politics.

The idea that the jobs are the problem, rather than the cities' willingness to accommodate newcomers, could also be considered quite toxic.

It's been really funny to see Seattle lumped in with SF on these things. Seattle's problems are nowhere near the scale of SF because SF has refused to accommodate even a tiny fraction, whereas Seattle is trying much harder and building up infracsturcture and allowing housing to move forward.

Large scale corporate welfare projects like this makes for good headlines and often popular with voters and politicians alike.

Popular doesn’t mean right though — not in general and not in this case. It will be less splashy in the headlines, but those spaces can now be used for businesses which actually pay taxes.

This seems to be a a poll by phone? https://scri.siena.edu/2019/02/12/majority-support-nys-deal-... I don't answer calls from unknown numbers, and I think there are a lot of people like myself.

I think there's significant sampling bias in telephone polls - and especially when the results of the poll seem to disagree so sharply with political sentiment as measured in other ways, we should probably be asking more questions about better ways to measure sentiment accurately.

(One simple option would have been to put the proposed HQ2 concessions on the ballot last November....)

>The idea that the jobs are the problem, rather than the cities' willingness to accommodate newcomers, could also be considered quite toxic.

Accommodate newcomers with huge subsidies could be considered quite toxic? Or did you mean something else?

It isn't toxic but neither is it compromise. Compromising is when two parties meet in the middle. Amazon left, that's not compromise.

The scale of NYC is just very different. It's not like Seattle or SF. Amazon there or not doesn't really make a big dent.

No, that’s not “why” Silicon Valley got started. And you’ll note that neither taxes nor unions are especially rare in California.

Silicon Valley owes its existence to Stanford University and the Department of Defense. Spending on research, and on technology at such places as Hewlett-Packard gave the Valley its start.

perhaps they didn't want to repeat the errors of the past... https://assets.pando.com/_versions/2014/03/12867224113_6375f...

This is still one of the beneficial places in the country for Amazon to have a new HQ, but NY will be just fine without Amazon there. Why should NY have to bribe one of wealthiest organizations in the world with billions of dollars to set up shop there?

> even less than zero in the long term.

And what are the long term consequences of cities competing against each-other for corporate favor?

I see it as a loss to NYC, too.

High paying jobs (by the bucket-load) bring a ton of benefits to the community.

Is that something PG said? I don’t think unions killed Wang or DG?

The next election cycle will be interesting in how it plays out. Will upstate blue bloods prevail or the new progressives/socialists prevail and possibly return NYC to the 80s when overtaxation drove business out into NJ and other places.

I really think thd next cycle has the potential of being a referendum on socialist/progressives versus blue Dems.

Bezos is a Dem ally but thd socialists see him as a billionaire to be vilified and taken down on behalf of the downtrodden.

Go back to Silicon Valley then. As an east coast dev i could care less if Amazon came here. The less we have tomdo with their awful business practices the better.

There seems to be some confusion between Tax-breaks and subsidies. The three Billion that AOC and Co suggest will now be available for other investments would not have been money given to Amazon, it would have been money that Amazon would have paid less in taxes, while still paying a reduced tax rate. No Amazon = 0 Taxes.

(It is worth noting that Amazon would still have claimed other subsidies made available to all companies in the state of NY - however now claiming a plus of 3 Billion is simply incorrect. More so, even with the 3 Billion tax break I don't think there is an argument that Amazon would have been a net-negative - quite the opposite in fact)

This keeps getting repeated but it’s nonsense.

1) There was $300-500 million in the deal that was just straight up cash to help them build the HQ area. That’s cold hard taxpayer money that can now be spent on subways or housing or anything else.

2) The idea that there will now be “0” taxes is ridiculous. First of all Amazon itself will likely still expand in NYC anyways, since there were clearly reasons why increasing their presence here was in their interest. And regardless, this is New York, we’re not short of development. Other businesses will just take over that area instead, like they do in every corner and crevice of this densely packed city, and they’ll pay their share of taxes instead.

You obviously didn't live in LIC or Williamsburg in the 1990s or early 2000s. Those places were crap for many years without real development. I didn't like the offer Amazon was given but you're wrong to simply assume that someone else will replace Amazon.

So why did Amazon pick LIC/Williamsburg?

There are basically two possible answers: because they thought they were uniquely in a place to salvage and redevelop it, or because it's currently in a state where it's getting active growth and popularity among the sort of workers Amazon wants to target. If the latter, that's going to continue with or without Amazon.

If the former - which is also the only reason an Amazon-specific subsidy and tax exemption is justifiable - I'm curious why, and I'm also curious if they would have believed that in the 1990s or early 2000s, too.

I lived in Williamsburg in the 90s and can tell you it was an amazing place to live then. It lacked for nothing. In my opinion it is utter crap now, thanks to what you call ‘real’ development.

I did too. You couldn't get a meal in the neighborhood, save for awful Chinese or PR food.

Other than Frost, Peter Luger, or Bamontes, and then the original Planet Thailand on N 7th - still the best basil beef I have ever had.

I grant that the Chinese food was very bad.

Those three aren't exactly everyday places. Everyday food was pretty bad.

Uhh today the area is undergoing massive development.

Today is 2019, not the early 2000s. I don’t see how pst fears relate to now.

I lived at the corner of Kent Avenue and N. 5th from 2002-2003, and have lived in Brooklyn for about 20 years.

Hahaha. Trastafaria was amazing in the 90s, you are quite literally full of it.

> No Amazon = 0 Taxes.

That's not true for a few reasons:

- Amazon will still be growing in New York, as confirmed by their press release: "There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams." They just won't get the benefits of the HQ2 deal. So, they'll still be paying taxes.

- Other companies will be able to move in to the land and hire the people that Amazon would have hired. They're not the only employer in town. Those companies will pay taxes, which will go to the same government coffers, even if the money doesn't come from Amazon.

- Sure, but this question is about the specific HQ2 deal. There's some amount of Amazon in most US cities.

- I've seen the second argument a few times, including this page, but I don't quite get it. These companies haven't moved in yet, leaving Queens as one of the economically weaker areas of NY. Why would they move in now that Amazon doesn't? What changed for them?

1) How do you know HQ2 wasn't just a ploy to get additional tax breaks on the expansion Amazon was planning in NYC anyways? And whether Amazon expands specifically with buildings in LIC, or in multiple offices across NYC, doesn't really matter.

2) LIC is booming. Have you seen all the new construction there? The same reasons that now make it attractive for Amazon (different from 10 years ago) also make it attractive to other companies. They just don't get press.

Long Island city, which is literally 800 yards from midtown Manhattan, also known as the most successful and robust central business district in the history of world civilization, has exploded with growth over the last 10-20 years, and luxury apartment skyscrapers and employment centers have been sprouting literally as fast as construction workers can put up the scaffolding.

The argument is not that they are a net negative: it's that they're extracting concessions disproportionate to the benefits they're providing the city.

Amazon paid $0 in federal taxes this year[1], and is extremely tight-lipped about their taxes paid at the state and local levels. There's no particular reason to believe that they'll treat NYC any better than the rest of the country.

[1]: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/15/amazon-will-pay-0-in-federal...

Are you under the impression that NYC is an undeveloped ghost town currently bringing in no tax revenue?

> There seems to be some confusion between Tax-breaks and subsidies.

A tax break and a subsidy is exactly the same thing. Amazon is a large and profitable company. The idea that tax payer money should go to subsidies to Amazon is just very insane.


The whole thread is worth reading (note he links to a counter-argument at the end).

They never would have backed out if Cuomo changed his first name to Amazon as he suggested.

I don't get it...the politicians in power wanted it and so did the people https://news.yahoo.com/poll-majority-yorkers-supported-amazo... . Of course Amazon wasn't expecting a 100% "please come here" vote.

The thing about polls is that you can throw out the ones you don't like.

I guess even in November, this was probably a stretchy decision for Amazon to have 2 HQ2s and one in NYC to begin with, hence not a surprise it changes decision once it sensed more friction politically and the overall economy trend is great since Nov anyway.

This website blocks visitors from Europe because of GDPR...

Regulations have repercussions.

It also throws up a banner unless you disable your ad blocker.

Use a VPN or proxy?

Use outline.com

I think it's ironic that Bezos is a Libertarian, with a capital L, and his company and values very much reflect this. But, then they try to lean on local and state governments for hand outs and incentives. Then his company throws a fit when they don't get everything they want, despite apparently espousing free market tenants and ideas.

It just feels very hypocritical to the extreme, from a political/philosophical standpoint.

It also feels like they just want the system to always work in their favor, wherever, whenever. Which seems unrealistic and borderline childish.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact