Lawmakers, Advocates Support Ban On Subsidies For Amazon And Other E-Commerce Warehouse And Logistics Facilities

02/03/2022

March 2, 2022

Michael Kink, michael.kink@strongforall.org,
Charles Khan, charles.E.khan@strongforall.org

Lawmakers, Advocates Support Ban On Subsidies For Amazon And Other E-Commerce Warehouse And Logistics Facilities

Elected leaders and community organizations support legislation to stop giving subsidies to e-commerce warehouses and logistics facilities. Press conference was held in Albany, N.Y.

ALBANY, NY - National advocacy groups and state activists, backed by legislative sponsors at the state level, rallied at the State Capitol today in support of a new ban on subsidies for Amazon and other e-commerce warehouse and logistics facilities.

At the event, speakers blasted Amazon’s attacks on local small businesses, unfair treatment of workers, and ridiculous claims on local tax revenue. They also outlined how alternative budget investments in universal child care, income support for excluded workers, and housing for all provide a bigger boost for local economies while supporting local small businesses.

Research from Good Jobs First has demonstrated that tax breaks for Amazon warehouses are wasteful and unnecessary, and that they drain funding for essential schools and services.  New data show that New York's local IDAs have handed out almost $400 million in unnecessary subsidies to Amazon over the past eight years (scroll down for full list).

With this latest legislation, sponsored by Senator Sean Ryan and Assembly Member Michaelle Solages, lawmakers and advocates continue their push to bar tax breaks for Amazon and other huge corporations for e-commerce warehouse and logistics facilities from Industrial Development Authorities as part of this year's budget.

See highlights from the event and quotes from the ban’s supporters below:

Senator Sean Ryan said, “New York’s taxpayers should not bear the burden of subsidizing massively profitable companies like Amazon – and especially not when those subsidies are buying us low-wage jobs. We need to prioritize high-road economic development in New York, and this bill will help eliminate wasteful spending that benefits multinational corporations at the expense of our local municipalities.”

Assemblymember Michaelle Solages said, “Each year, industrial development agencies (IDAs) issue millions of dollars in tax exemptions with little oversight, and create too few jobs to justify them. This bill will reduce the massive loss in revenue local governments have to endure when IDAs provide these tax write-offs. E-commerce companies which bring in hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue each year must pay their fair share in taxes if they wish to build their facilities in New York State.”

Senator James Skoufis said, “I’m proud to stand with Senator Ryan in calling for a long overdue end to corporate handouts for warehousing giants like Amazon. These facilities are coming to our state whether they receive IDA incentives or not; they locate in regions where they determine better distribution networks are needed. Yet, my constituents continue shouldering these property tax breaks because IDAs continue to recklessly award these unnecessary subsidies. If the IDAs won’t willingly protect taxpayers and stop providing these handouts, the Legislature must step in and force the issue.”

“Subsidizing Amazon to expand is like paying a shark to eat seals. It is going to happen. So why pay the shark?”  said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First.

“Subsidizing Amazon’s monopoly with public money directly harms local businesses, workers, and taxpayers,” said Pat Garofalo, director of state and local policy at the American Economic Liberties Project. “New York should set an example for the country by passing S8418 and cutting off subsidies to Amazon's warehouse network. Doing so would send a message that New York doesn’t tolerate using public resources to build private, corporate power.”

"Amazon consistently puts profit over people, and subsidies only reward their growing dominance. We must be investing in the pressing needs of workers, small businesses, and our communities, who pay the price of big tech's unchecked power." said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN NY and leader of the New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition. 

“New York’s leaders need to drop the pretense of 'economic development' in the form of wasteful and unnecessary tax breaks to corporations like Amazon, and recognize that that money would be far better invested, dollar for dollar, in public goods — through programs like universal child care and public education — instead of diverting those resources away from our communities.  Research shows that investment in high quality early childhood is a highly effective form of economic development, with up to $16 in benefit each year for every dollar spent. Real economic development means investing in New York’s people and communities, not giant corporations like Amazon," said Jasmine Gripper, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education.

"Continuing to subsidize e-commerce companies like Amazon to develop distribution warehouses that they need to build anyway simply makes no logical economic sense. It's a waste of hundreds of millions of public dollars that could be better spent on public services like childcare, home care and higher education that have far greater returns on investment,” said Ron Deutsch, Director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness. “Many thanks to Senator Ryan for introducing a bill to end these ridiculous corporate giveaways to one of the worlds richest companies.”

"As over one hundred thousand excluded New Yorkers suffer yet another year without pandemic relief, it is time for the state to stop subsidizing economically extractive and abusive e-commerce companies like Amazon in order to redirect funds to programs like the Excluded Workers Fund, which has unequivocally proven its ability to stimulate local economies." said Elvia Garcia, Community Organizer with Columbia County Sanctuary Movement.

"New Yorkers agree: we need public investments to build a strong, vibrant economy with prosperity for all of us.  But New York's current 'economic development' programs aren't working -- they're corrupt and wasteful and they're making economic inequality even worse,” said Michael Kink, executive director of the Strong Economy For All Coalition.  “Giving $400 million in subsidies to the world's most profitable corporation and the world's richest billionaire are a 'prime' example of this failure.  We support Senator Ryan and Assembly Member Solages in their effort to stop needless subsidies for Amazon, and we urge lawmakers to redirect these funds into investments like child care, higher education, housing, support for excluded workers and green jobs that will benefit everyone -- not just billionaires." 

Full video of the event can be viewed here.

Image shows a list of the New York Amazon facilities that have receieved public subsidies. It is almost $400 million.
Source: Good Jobs First's Amazon Tracker and Subsidy Tracker.
Note: The value of some deals may be incomplete and others may be missing altogether due to poor disclosures.