Ocasio-Cortez Responds to NYC Billboard Which Slammed Her for Amazon’s Pullout

February 22, 2019 Updated: February 22, 2019

Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) responded on Feb. 21 to a billboard which lambasted her for celebrating the cancellation of Amazon’s plans to build its second headquarters in New York City.

The digital billboard, posted in New York City’s Times Square, points out that the pullout of the online retail giant means the city and state lost the prospect of 25,000 jobs, $4 billion in wages, and $12 billion in economic activity.

“Thanks for nothing, AOC,” the billboard states, referring to the acronym of the democratic socialist’s name.

Ocasio-Cortez responded to the billboard on Twitter on Feb. 21 by attacking those who funded it but ignored the message on the sign.

“Few things effectively communicate the power we’ve built in fighting dark money & anti-worker policies like billionaire-funded groups blowing tons of cash on wack billboards,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “This one is funded by the Mercers … fact that it’s in Times Sq tells you this isn’t for/by NYers.”

On Feb. 19, when asked about Amazon’s pullout, Ocasio-Cortez said that it was “incredible.” She drew criticism and ridicule by suggesting, incorrectly, that New York City was paying Amazon $3 billion for the jobs that the company was creating.

“It shows that everyday Americans still have the power to organize and fight for their communities and they can have more say in this country than the richest man in the world,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pointed out that the $3 billion figure was a tax incentive which the city would provide only after Amazon had built its headquarters and created the 25,000 jobs.

“And that $3 billion that would go back in tax incentives was only after we were getting the jobs and getting the revenue,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “There’s no money.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (L) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio listens to questions from reporters during a press conference to discuss Amazon's decision to bring a new corporate location to New York City in New York City
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (L) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio listens to questions from reporters during a press conference to discuss Amazon’s decision to bring a new corporate location to New York City in New York City on Nov. 13, 2018. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Democratic New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo chided the politicians who caused Amazon to scrap its plan.

“We competed in and won the most hotly contested national economic development competition in the United States, resulting in at least 25,000-40,000 good paying jobs for our state and nearly $30 billion dollars in new revenue to fund transit improvements, new housing, schools and countless other quality of life improvements,” Cuomo said.

“However, a small group politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community–which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City–the state’s economic future and the best interests of the people of this state,” the New York governor added.

Jay Carney, the Amazon’s top policy executive, told Cuomo on Feb. 14 that the world’s biggest online retailer would not go ahead with plans to invest $2.5 billion to build a second head office in the New York City borough of Queens.

A protest message directed at Amazon is spray painted on a wall near a construction site in the Long Island City
A protest message directed at Amazon is spray painted on a wall near a construction site in the Long Island City neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City, on Jan. 9, 2019. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Carney, a former press secretary for President Barack Obama, told de Blasio the same shortly after.

Abruptly scuttling its Big Apple plans blindsided Amazon’s allies and opponents alike. The company said the decision came together only in the last 48 hours, made by its senior leadership team and Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, chief executive and the richest person in the world.

Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov
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