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Inside the Movement to Derail Amazon HQ2 Incentives

New York and Virginia politicians and activists could still make changes to Amazon HQ2 packages—or at least stop the next bidding war from mirroring this one.
John Schoettler, Amazon vice president for real estate and facilities, joins New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio during a news conference to announce the Amazon deal.
John Schoettler, Amazon vice president for real estate and facilities, joins New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio during a news conference to announce the Amazon deal.Bebeto Matthews/AP

Amazon’s long-awaited HQ2 reveal was received Tuesday morning with a mix of glee and disgust. Starting in 2019, the company announced, it will plop a pair of 25,000-worker headquarters outside New York City and Washington, D.C.—one in Long Island City, Queens, and another in a portion of Northern Virginia that’s been newly branded as National Landing. In exchange, Amazon will receive more than $2 billion in state and local subsidies. That is, if a growing opposition party of activists and politicians doesn’t stop them first.

“Our subways are crumbling, our children lack school seats, and too many of our neighbors lack adequate health care,” read a joint statement from New York State Senator Michael Gianaris and New York City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. ”It is unfathomable that we would sign a $3 billion check to Amazon in the face of these challenges.” Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world. (New York has not committed incentives as high as $3 billion, according to documents released by Amazon.)