Amazon is a company for the 21st century, but New York is stuck in the past.
The more than $1.5 billion in direct tax breaks and grants the state is offering Amazon to create jobs here — $48,000 a job — would be fine if this were 1978, not 2018. Back then, Gotham’s biggest problem was the loss of hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, as companies and people fled a failing city. It’s the opposite today: We have more jobs and people than our subways, parks and schools can handle.
After a yearlong beauty pageant during which Amazon auditioned dozens of cities to locate a second headquarters away from its home base of Seattle, we won! Long Island City, Queens, will be home to half the new headquarters; northern Virginia will be the other half. That means at least 25,000 new jobs for Gotham, which Amazon says will pay an average of more than $150,000 apiece. (Beware of “averages” — if the company is like a bank, a few extremely highly paid individuals will skew the average up.)
For most cities, this would be a big deal. Boston, for example, a generally healthy city with a big tech center, has nearly 1.7 million private jobs; it has gained 200,000 jobs in the past 10 years. Adding another 25,000 jobs over a decade — the amount of time Amazon has to hire folk here — would be a 13 percent boost over that trend. San Francisco has 2.1 million jobs; it has gained 300,000 over the past decade. An additional 25,000 would be 8 percent.