Here's how politicians and tech execs are reacting to the surprise news of Amazon pulling its new headquarters from New York City

amazon protest hq2AP Photo/Bebeto MatthewsAP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

  • Amazon said Thursday it was no longer planning to bring its new headquarters, named HQ2, to New York City.
  • The decision to bring HQ2 to New York was met with fierce backlash from many politicians, local residents, and tech leaders who took aim at HQ2's effect on housing prices, the major tax breaks New York was giving Amazon, and the company's treatment of its workers.
  • This is how politicians, policymakers, and tech leaders reacted to the surprise news.

Amazon's plans to put HQ2 in New York City have been called off, the final culmination of months of criticism directed at the e-commerce giant after it first announced in November that it would open a new headquarters there.

In a blog post Thursday, Amazon said it came to the decision to cancel its plans for New York City "after much deliberation," and seemingly took aim at politicians who vocally opposed HQ2.

"The commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term," the blog post says. "While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned."

Amazon announced in November it had chosen to split its much-coveted second headquarters between two sites in New York and Arlington, Virginia.

The news was met with immediate opposition from several sides. Local residents were angry HQ2 would cause traffic to increase, rent prices in the surrounding area to skyrocket, and gentrification of the neighborhood to speed up. Players in the tech industry slammed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for a lack of transparency in its long 14-month long HQ2 selection process. Developer David Heinemeier Hansson even went as far as to accuse Amazon of extracting "blatant loot" from cities vying for HQ2, and called the company's actions "utterly becoming."

Local politicians, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, were outraged at the terms of the deal struck between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Amazon, which promised the company billions of dollars in tax breaks as incentive for coming to New York City. New York City Council members were upset they were kept out of the loop regarding discussions for Amazon to come to their city.

But now that plans for HQ2 have been scrapped, many of HQ2's biggest opponents are celebrating, while proponents are lashing out at Amazon.

Here are some of the reactions coming from politicians and leaders in tech in the wake of Amazon's HQ2 reversal:

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

In a statement, de Blasio said: "You have to be tough to make it in New York City. We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world. Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity. We have the best talent in the world and every day we are growing a stronger and fairer economy for everyone. If Amazon can't recognize what that's worth, its competitors will."

Read more: Mayor Bill de Blasio slams Amazon for scrapping its HQ2 project in New York City

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson

In a statement posted to Twitter: "I look forward to working with companies that understand that if you're willing to engage with New Yorkers and work though challenging issues New York City is the world's best place to do business. I hope this is the start of a conversation about vulture capitalism and where our tax dollars are best spent. I know I'd choose mass transit over helipads any day."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

On Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez wrote: "Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world."

Asked by a CBS News reporter about her thoughts, Ocasio-Cortez said, "I think it's incredible! It shows that everyday Americans still have the power to organize ... and they can have more to say in this country than the richest man in the world."

Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world. https://t.co/nyvm5vtH9k

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 14, 2019

JUST IN: @AOC smiling after Amazon decides to not bring new HQ to NYC. "I think it's incredible!" she told @RebeccaRKaplan.
"It shows that everyday Americans still have the power to organize...and they can have more say in this country than the richest man in the world.” @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/qkJvRfCFrQ

— Bo Erickson (@BoKnowsNews) February 14, 2019

City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer

In a statement, Van Bramer said: "When our community fights together, anything is possible, even when we’re up against the biggest corporation in the world. I am proud that we fought for our values, which is a fight for working families, immigrants, & organized labor. Defeating an anti-union corporation that mistreats workers and assists ICE in terrorizing immigrant communities is a victory. Defeating an unprecedented act of corporate welfare is a triumph that should change the way we do economic development deals in our city & state forever."

State Sen. Mike Gianaris, from Queens.

State Sen. Mike Gianaris, from Queens.

Sen. Gianaris has yet to make an official statement, but he told The New York Times, "Like a petulant child, Amazon insists on getting its way or takes its ball and leaves."

“Like a petulant child, Amazon insists on getting its way or takes its ball and leaves," @SenGianaris on Amazon backing out of New York.

— J. David Goodman (@jdavidgoodman) February 14, 2019

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Diaz Jr. wrote on Twitter: "It's unfortunate that @amazon was unwilling to grasp the concept that massive taxpayer subsidies require equivalent concessions to the people providing them. This is a simple aphorism: if you want charity, you have to be charitable."

It's unfortunate that @amazon was unwilling to grasp the concept that massive taxpayer subsidies require equivalent concessions to the people providing them. This is a simple aphorism: if you want charity, you have to be charitable. #HQ2 #OrganizeAmazonhttps://t.co/NG8slTiVxr

— Ruben Diaz Jr. (@rubendiazjr) February 14, 2019

Entrepreneur and author Steve Case

Entrepreneur and author Steve Case

Case said on Twitter that he found the decision to pull out of New York "odd."

Amazon’s NYC #HQ2 decision was odd. Not surprised they changed course. Bodes well for VA & TN. And sends important signal about dispersion of talent. Great people are NOT just in CA/NY/MA, even though 75% of venture capital goes to those 3 states. The rest is rising! #RiseOfRest https://t.co/Ae7KHNrd8V

— Steve Case (@SteveCase) February 14, 2019

City Council member Joe Borelli, from Staten Island.

Borelli wrote on Twitter: "Losing @Amazon is a blow to #NYC. But it really is a blow to the notion of thinking we can be a high tax state and still attract business by dangling crony capitalist tax incentives."

Losing @Amazon is a blow to #NYC. But it really is a blow to the notion of thinking we can be a high tax state and still attract business by dangling crony capitalist tax incentives.

— Joe Borelli (@JoeBorelliNYC) February 14, 2019

Chelsea Connor, director of communications for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

In a statement, Connor said: "Rather than addressing the legitimate concerns that have been raised by many New Yorkers Amazon says you do it our way or not at all, we will not even consider the concerns of New Yorkers – that’s not what a responsible business would do."

State Senator Julia Salazar

"When we organize, we win," Salazar wrote on Twitter.

When we organize, we win. https://t.co/uMf8paJIKN

— State Senator Julia Salazar (@SalazarSenate) February 14, 2019

City Council member Eric Ulrich, from Queens.

Ulrich wrote on Twitter: "It never ceases to amaze me how the loud voices of a few, could destroy the chance at a better life for so many. @amazon had big plans in store for the borough of Queens, and we blew it!"

It never ceases to amaze me how the loud voices of a few, could destroy the chance at a better life for so many. @amazon had big plans in store for the borough of Queens, and we blew it!

— Eric Ulrich (@eric_ulrich) February 14, 2019

City Council member Brad Lander

In his statement, Lander said: "It’s been clear for a long time that Amazon had no intention of respecting New York City’s rules, paying their taxes in full, and being a good neighbor. If their intentions were good, they would have engaged in real dialogue and negotiations, not abruptly pulled out after facing criticism."

Amazon’s abrupt decision to pull out makes clear that what we've been saying has been true all along: Amazon is not interested in NYC’s version of the social compact. They want to make all the rules. That is not the kind of partner NYC needs. My statement: https://t.co/i7OJFOSNoe https://t.co/nfIAXK8pIx

— Brad Lander (@bradlander) February 14, 2019
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