The day after signing a joint statement to bring Amazon back, U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) went on a mini-media blitz on Yahoo! Finance and Fox Business Friday saying that New York wants to “welcome” the tech firm back to the city because “it is important for the future” of the Big Apple.
Meeks also said he believed that there is a “50/50” chance that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos might reconsider bringing 25,000 jobs back to Long Island City.
“There’s a reason why Amazon chose New York,” said Meeks to Fox Business on March 1. “The talent that’s here, the opportunity to grow – that’s here, and the neighborhood they’re in – that’s perfect, so those things have not changed.”
In the joint statement issued on Feb. 28, that was signed by Meeks and dozens of other civic, union and community leaders, Amazon was projected to bring in $28 billion in new tax revenues, which many found to more then make up for the nearly $3 billion in tax abatements the $1 trillion company would have received if the business venture went through.
“We know the public debate that followed the announcement of the Long Island City project was rough and not very welcoming,” according to the joint statement. “Opinions are strong in New York—sometimes strident. We consider it part of the New York charm! But when we commit to a project as important as this, we figure out how to get it done in a way that works for everyone.”
Meeks may want Amazon in the World’s Borough, but he did find it problematic that the Seattle headquarters of the tech firm had no black or Latino members on its board and that its senior executives were predominantly white males.
“It would be completely unacceptable for Amazon to replicate Seattle’s currently existing overwhelmingly white male workforce structure here in New York City,” said Meeks. “New York City and the borough of Queens are the most racially and ethnically diverse urban area in the entire world. There are nearly 180 languages spoken in its public schools. The diversity of New York has the potential to fuel unprecedented innovation and creativity.”
The joint statement also said that Gov. Cuomo would take “personal responsibility for the project’s state approval.”
However, Cuomo’s outlook on the Amazon deal must have dimmed quite considerably within 24 hours because his office re-released a different open letter that was issued after the deal was terminated approximately two weeks ago.
“As just about everyone in this state, if not the country, knows by now, Amazon has terminated its plans to bring its second headquarters to New York State. It is a tremendous loss for New Yorkers and I hope that at a minimum, we understand the lessons learned,” said New York State Budget Director Robert Mujica.