A majority of New Yorkers want Amazon in Queens, new poll shows

Posted On Tue, February 12, 2019 By

Posted On Tue, February 12, 2019 By In Long Island City, Policy

Rendering via NYCEDC

News broke last week that Amazon was reconsidering its move to New York City after facing opposition from residents and local officials. But a new poll released on Tuesday shows a majority of New York voters actually support the deal for the tech company to open its headquarters in Queens. According to the Siena College Research Institute, 56 percent of voters in the state back the project, while 36 percent disapprove. City residents support the Amazon deal even more, with 58 percent approving, according to the poll.

“Even as Amazon is said to be reexamining the deal with New York to locate in Queens, by twenty points New York voters approve of the deal,” Don Levy, the director of Siena College Research Institute, said in a statement. “Upstate voters are evenly divided but suburban voters strongly approve and in New York City, where some local activists have voiced opposition, voters approve of the deal by 23 points.”

As part of the deal worked out with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Amazon pledged to bring at least 25,000 new jobs in exchange for $3 billion in tax incentives and grants from the city and state. Since Amazon selected Long Island City last November, advocacy groups, some unions, and local politicians have voiced opposition for the deal, in particular, the pricey incentives package.

poll conducted by Quinnipiac University in December found a more divided opinion about the $3 billion in subsidies offered to Amazon, with just 46 percent approving of the package and 44 percent disapproving.

But despite protests from locals and politicians about Amazon, there’s also a united front of supporters for the project. A rally was held on Monday in support of the new complex at Long Island City’s Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in the country.

The president of the Queensbridge Houses Tenant Association, April Simpson, told Curbed NY that Amazon has included the association in their plan. “I’m not gonna allow anybody to come into my community and disrupt and deny them the opportunity for a better life,” Simpson told Curbed. “You know why? Because we have a voice. We’re at the table. That’s the blessing.”

Amazon has said it will hire 30 New Yorkers living at NYCHA developments for customer service positions and fund computer science classes at 130 high schools across the city.

The new poll from Siena comes after the Washington Post reported on Friday that the company was rethinking its plan to come to New York because of strong opposition.

“We were invited to come to New York, and we want to invest in a community that wants us,” Brian Huseman, the vice president for public policy at Amazon, said during the Council hearing last month. He also added, as reported by the New York Times, that the company wanted to “be part of the growth of a community where our employees and our company are welcome.”

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer have called Amazon anti-union and said the company should not be welcomed in New York. “Since the Governor and the Mayor announced the Amazon deal, I have joined many to fight it. We rose up and held the line,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “When a corporation is anti-union, pro-ICE and seeks billions in corporate welfare, we must fight back. It’s not over, but I’m proud of the values we fought for.”

[Via WSJ]

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