Gov. Cuomo blundered badly by providing a $3 billion incentive package to Amazon to open a headquarters in Queens and shouldn’t “dig a deeper hole” by defending the deal, a leading foe of the project said Thursday.
Deputy state Senate Majority Leader Mike Gianaris (D-Queens) said the Amazon deal should be scrapped and renegotiated.
“Let’s do the right thing for the people of New York. Don’t dig a deeper hole. A mistake was made. You made this deal. You shouldn’t have made it. Let’s acknowledge that we should start over and see if we could do it right,” Gianaris urged Cuomo during an interview on Fox 5’s “Good Day New York.”
Gianaris, who represents the Long Island City neighborhood where Amazon would be headquartered, also responded to criticism from Cuomo calling him a flip-flopper.
“If the governor wants to talk about the many flip-flops he has made, we can spend your whole show talking about it,” Gianaris said.
“You know you’re doing the right thing when someone starts attacking you personally instead of talking about the issue at hand. If the governor wants to act like a child and throw stones, he could do whatever he wants. But if he wants to talk about why this deal is bad, I’m ready to sit here with him. Bring him on, we’ll talk together what’s bad about this deal.”
Gianaris added, “Does the governor want to defend giving $3 billion to Jeff Bezos right now. . . Not to mention the heliport.”
Gianaris admitted that he and Cuomo are currently engaged in a cold war, having not spoken once to him about the Amazon deal.
“I’m in contact with his staff on a regular basis. I have not talked to him directly about it,” Gianaris said.
Gianaris was also asked whether Cuomo would accept the senator’s nomination to the Public Authorities Control Board, an entity that would likely have to vote on whether to approve parts of the Amazon plan. A seat on the board would potentially give Gianaris veto power to sink the project.
“The real question is what’s the governor’s next step. He has to decide whether to make the appointment or not. Whether to respect the will of the Senate or not,” he said.
He said Amazon should be spending money to improve mass transit, provide affordable housing and school seats, instead of getting tax breaks in exchange for 25,000 jobs
“Let me refer to something Mike Bloomberg said just the other day. They’re coming here because New York is special. It’s got a talented work pool that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s a place where young people want to go to work,” said Gianaris.
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