Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other New York progressives — who helped kill Amazon’s plans for a Queens headquarters in 2019 — have been conspicuously silent on an upstate semiconductor factory expected to be far more expensive for taxpayers.
Chipmaker Micron is set to receive at least $5.5 billion in state tax incentives over the next two-plus decades in exchange for building a semiconductor factory outside Syracuse that will employ 9,000 workers.
By contrast, the so-called HQ2 that Amazon proposed for Queens in 2018 — but was later killed after protests from local politicians and residents — was to receive roughly $3 billion in tax credits and state construction subsidies in exchange for what Amazon said would be. 25,000 jobs.
That means the Micron plant creates less than half as many jobs in exchange for nearly twice as many tax incentives — or $61[ads1]1,000 per job. The Amazon proposal would have cost about $120,000 per job.
The Micron deal — which President Biden will celebrate with Micron’s CEO on a visit to Syracuse on Thursday — came together after nearly two years of negotiations involving Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) , Syracuse.com reported.
New York reportedly beat out at least four other states including Texas to land the plant by wooing Micron with the fattest incentive package. But many progressives who criticized the Amazon deal as a corporate handout to one of the biggest companies in the world have been silent on Micron.
Occasion-Cortez (D-NY), who torn The Amazon deal to “provide hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling,” appears not to have spoken publicly about the Micron facility and did not respond to requests for comment from The Post.
The AOC also helped set up Micron and other chipmakers to receive additional federal subsidies on top of the New York tax breaks by voting in favor of the Biden-backed Chips and Science Act in June. That puts her at odds with socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who joined many Republicans in voting against the bill, blasting it as a “$53 billion blank check to profitable microchip and semiconductor companies.”
It is unclear exactly how much in federal subsidies Micron and other chipmakers will receive from the Chips Act because they are not allowed to apply for federal aid until next year.
Beyond Ocasio-Cortez, some state politicians who fought against Amazon’s HQ2 have also been silent on the Micron deal.
Sens. State Democrats Michael Gianaris and Jessica Ramos, who both represent Queens and were outspoken critics of the Amazon deal, appear not to have spoken publicly about the semiconductor plant. Their spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment about their positions on Micron subsidies.
Not all Amazon critics were silent. Queens State Assemblyman Ron Kim, who opposed the Amazon HQ2 deal, told The Post that he also opposes the Micron subsidies.
“As long as governors and mayors tout ‘jobs’ and some ‘growth,’ they get away with spending billions of taxpayer dollars without any accountability or oversight,” the Democrat said. “I have never believed in bribing billionaires and mega-corporations to do business in our state because it sets the wrong precedent for a perpetual race against the economy. Simply put, New York’s corporate welfare has resulted in billions of wasted taxpayer money.”
Regarding Micron specifically, Kim added, “I’m opposed to the subsidies, but I respect my colleagues’ wishes for what they want in their regions.”
Supporters of the Micron deal including Biden and Schumer argue that the U.S. needs to subsidize domestic production of semiconductors — which are crucial parts of products like phones and cars — to create high-paying jobs and better compete with China.
Much of the semiconductor supply chain is currently concentrated in Taiwan and other parts of Asia, leaving the US economy vulnerable to a potential Chinese embargo or war.