Amazon in LIC

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The Amazon deal to move to LIC was ruined by misguided ideologues  We need smart leaders who plan intelligently for the future. We want to protect society while creating jobs and tax revenue.  

The Amazon debacle was a warning.  The promise of urban renewal, nearly 40,000 jobs and billions in tax revenue was lost.  Ideologues are dangerous.  They see only one opinion as right.  While there were valid concerns that New York did not get enough in return, destroying the deal was not the right solution.  Large corporations are not evil.  They just need regulation and to be required to help communities.  Here are lessons to we can learn:

  1. This was not so much a tax giveaway but an important investment.  Giving $2 billion in tax breaks is paltry compared to the estimated $9-plus billion in tax revenues anticipated in the coming two decades.  
  2. Amazon could have helped make LIC better.  Right now, it’s shabby. People cannot even reach riverfront that is blocked to the public in large swaths.  We can still change that! As the area is redeveloped, let’s make sure all of us have access to waterfront as opposed to large stretches of ugly warehouses and buildings blocking the river.
  3. Light rail could be promoted.  Getting the influx of Amazon or future workers around should encourage light rail that allows all of us to benefit.  It’s far better to have a clean, electric means for transportation rather than an influx of yet more cars clogging streets.
  4. Improving the 7 line and other stations should be part of any deal, including elevators and escalators for the elderly and handicapped.
  5. All new housing most require that at least 50 percent of housing units be allocated for affordable pricing for the middle class.
  6. Remake the area by planning the planting of 50,000 trees.
  7. Require the building of a new “special” school designated for the technologies and software.  It also will create hundreds of slots for worthy students.
  8. Rezone areas for parks and playgrounds for children to enjoy.

The failed Amazon can be the making of better urban renovation.  Let’s learn lessons well, for there are many areas besides LIC that need improvement.  Instead of attacking corporations reflexively, let’s use such opportunities to recreate neighborhoods… and remain aware that higher tax revenues and  jobs are in everyone’s interest.  Let’s  make sure ideologues never again ruin good possibilities. Chasing away opportunity is not in anyone’s interest.

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