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This is not a dictatorship: Gothamist

In November, New York State Sen. Michael Gianaris, Center, encourages supporters to remove the Amazon app from their phones and boycott the composition, addressing a coalition call and press conference (Bebeto Matthews / AP / Shutterstock)

Apart from two disputed but toothless city council hearings, Amazon has not had to remove many obstacles in its mission to build a new campus in Long Island City with $ 3 billion in state and city tax subsidies. It can be changed when the plan hits the board of public authorities, a group of five leaders who must unanimously approve projects coming from a number of government authorities, including the one allowing Amazon to bypass local supervision. On Monday, Queens State Senator Michael Gianaris, Amazon's primary antagonist, was nominated by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart's cousins ​​to sit on that PACB, which would give him the veto power needed to reverse the deal.

Gianari's deal still needs to be endorsed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose communications director issued a raging statement, claiming "Senate Democrats oppose the 25,000 to 40,000 new technology visits". Amazon is promising to create and just needs to queue.

Cuomo's Empire State Development Corporation, the government-owned agency, told Gothamist in November that Amazon's land plan needs PACB approval. The $ 505 million grant state gives Amazon will not, nor the $ 1.2 billion in Excelsior Jobs Program credits that Amazon can potentially get. (The remaining $ 1.8 billion Amazon comes from the city comes from two separate "as of the right" tax credit programs, meaning some big corporations could have gotten them automatically.)

"The state through the Empire Development Corporation, Make a project plan that will be approved by what is called PACB, said Cuomo to Brian Lehrer late last year.

But on January 17, Lehrer asked the governor whether the Amazon agreement would need PACB approval.

"This is another policy with tweet, "Cuomo replied." There are very few companies that come to New York or live in New York, who have the highest taxes in the state of New York, without an incentive program. "

Senator Gianaris, basically supported Amazon coming to New York City, Gothamist told on Monday night that he had not spoken to the governor about his deal, but that he hopes he is confirmed.

"The governor suggests that it will not hit the PACB desk, something that bark r his aggressive reaction is very curious, says Gianaris.

The Senate would not say whether he would vote for or against the current plan but gave his opinion on it clearly.

"The deal that has been presented is so bad for New York that it should not be a basis for what we are negotiating," Gianaris said.

Would Gianari vote for the deal if Amazon returned to the table and made concessions? What if they offered to pay for half of Andy Byford's $ 40 billion Fast Forward plan to fix and modernize the subway?

"Amazon has not shown willingness to engage in very real conversations about anything," replied the Senator. "This community is not interested in being bought off. If they want a conversation about how the neighborhood they propose to transform would be protected when we are already confused by existence, when the subway fails to handle people who already live there when parents fight over each other in kindergarten seats in schools – this deal will further stress all these things. "

He added," If they want to throw that deal into trash and have a new conversation, there's another problem. "

It is unclear when the Amazon agreement itself would reach PACB. According to the Memorandum of Understanding between Amazon, the city and the state, until March 11, 2019, the parties have meticulous care, and the ESD will approve it in November 2019.

David Friedfel, director of state studies at the Citizens Budget Commission, said that even If Cuomo and Amazon can avoid PACB, parts of the plan must pass through the state legislature.

"If the governor decides to approve the capital certificate in one way or another Through the budget process, there is a chance that it will not have to go through the PACB, but it will certainly need some regulatory approval," he said.

Friedfel also pointed out The State Legislator has to vote on raising the cash pot and the duration of the Excelsior Jobs program to meet the Amazon goals, and PACB also endorses many grants that legislators trust for their districts. Add all this, Governor Cuomo announcement on Monday see a decrease in tax revenue, "it can make the awards a little harder to come by."

"I think that makes the political calculation a little different and it also makes the horse division a little more challenging if that were to be how get the deal gone. »

Although Gianaris or another PACB employee skips the Amazon agreement, the Billionaire company could only go through the City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), like any other developer. Amazon refused to comment.

Asked if he wants Amazon to go through ULURP, Gianaris replied: "There has been no discussion, no representation of people representing these communities locally in this process. Whether it's me at PACB, or the city council or anything."

He added, "This is not a dictatorship, whether the governor likes it or not, someone other than he will come up with on this agreement. Whether it is this or the legislature next year, it will be an opportunity for people to be heard about this and they will be heard. "

[UPDATE 12:16 p.m.] The governor was at The Brian Lehrer Show this morning and said it was" unfortunate that the Senate plays politics here "with the Gianaris agreement .

"Yes, it is great politically to oppose the Amazon agreement. It's Jeff Bezos, one of the richest people, why do we give him a break, he's going to pay more than anyone else, I'm against it Government, on Facts, the symbolism puts away. Especially in light of what we have just seen, we must diversify our economy. "

Lehrer followed up: would the governor oppose Gianari's seat?

"Well, we're not there yet. I don't even know, depending on the exact design of the transaction, depends on the approvals we need."

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