3 min read

Andrea Stewart-Cousins, majority leader of the New York State Senate, and the senate democrats, nominated the New York State Senator, Michael Gianaris of Queens to serve on the five-member Public Authorities Control Board (PACB), yesterday.

The news, first reported by the NY Times, has stirred up a worry among those who support Amazon’s HQ2 proposal to build a 25,000-person office in New York City (announced last year in November).  This is because Gianaris has been a vocal opponent of Amazon HQ2, and if selected, can veto the state actions on the project. “My position on the Amazon deal is clear and unambiguous and is not changing. It’s hard for me to say what I would do when I don’t know what it is I would be asked to opine on”, said Gianaris.

The Amazon HQ2 deal for Long Island City was negotiated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo back in November 2018. “With Amazon committing to expand its headquarters in Long Island City, New York can proudly say that we have attracted one of the largest, most competitive economic development investments in U.S. history,” said Cuomo. He now has a final say over whether to refuse or approve the Senate’s selection.

The day after Amazon announced its plans to build its 1.5 million square foot corporate headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, New York City, Gianaris started a protest against Amazon. Gianaris was joined by other New Yorkers who protested against the company’s plan, asking it to be abandoned.  


Amazon’s new campus is supposed to be located along Long Island City’s waterfront, across the East River from Manhattan’s Midtown East neighborhood. Amazon has promised 50,000 jobs and will take in 25,000 employees with an average wage of $150,000 a year. Moreover, the company will receive at least $2.8 billion in incentives from the state and city and if it passes the goal of 25,000 workers in Long Island City, it could also receive state tax breaks. Gianaris does not approve of this as he believes that spending $2.8 billion in state and city incentives to Amazon is a “bad deal”.

He even went ahead to call it a ‘#Scamazon deal’.

Many people are in favor of Gianaris. According to Stuart Applebaum, President, Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, Gianaris, has “proven himself to be a champion of workers’ rights”:

Dani Lever, a spokeswoman for Cuomo, said that the recommendation of Gianaris “puts the self-interest of a flip-flopping opponent of the Amazon project above the state’s economic growth. Every Democratic Senator will now be called on to defend their opposition to the greatest economic growth potential this state has seen in over 50 years”.

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