AMAZON HQ2 FINANCE HEARING

AMAZON HQ2 FINANCE HEARING
COUNCIL MEMBER JIMMY VAN BRAMER’S OPENING STATEMENT FROM TODAY’S AMAZON HQ2 FINANCE HEARING: Picture Credit, NYC Council

“At a time when we should all be concerned with income inequality, we are confronted by a deal that literally takes billions in hard earned tax dollars paid by janitors, teachers and bus drivers only to give it to a man worth $160 billion. And yet we often here there isn’t enough money for mass transit, schools, libraries and parks.

“Now quite recently in a speech Mayor de Blasio spoke about this very dilemma. He said: ‘We actually do have the money to solve the problems, and I know where the money is. This country has spent decades taking from working people and concentrating the wealth in the hands of the 1 percent. That’s where the money is.’ He added, ‘There’s plenty of money in this country — it’s just in the wrong hands.’

“Which brings us to the Amazon deal, an over $3 billion corporate giveaway of taxpayer dollars to make the richest of the rich, even more rich. The Mayor and the Governor signed off on this deal. I will not. The City Council has not.

“The question I have been asking myself is how much is too much? In a world where so many are hungry at night, cold all day, and unable to afford a doctor when they inevitably get sick, how can so much wealth be concentrated in one person’s hands. And how does the City and State celebrate a deal that exacerbates income inequality?

“We often hear that it’s too much or we are going too far when it comes to giving poor or working class people more and better health care. It would be too much of a burden for all workers to be unionized. But we never hear those same people say that Jeff Bezos and people worth tens of billions of dollars have too much damn money.

“This Amazon debacle must be an inflection point for our society. Where we reign in corporate welfare and the billionaire class and give more power to the people who have the least in our world.

“We need to delve further into this deal and these subsidies and programs. We need to know why Amazon is opposed to allowing Amazon workers to join a union.

“Amazon is apparently spending millions on these flyers. My advice to you, on behalf of my constituents, is to stop sending them. They are not working. Opposition is only growing. 2:1 my constituents have called telling me to keep fighting this deal. So that is what I will do. You may have millions of dollars to waste on these flyers, but the hardworking people of New York do not. Stop sending them! Save some trees! And stop the BS.

“The Mayor can spread the gospel of progressive values across the country but I believe it is this record breaking act of corporate welfare that will define his Mayoralty.”

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