Some people say you don’t get rich by spending money — or at least that’s what billionaire Jeff Bezos seems to believe.
With a net worth around $140 billion dollars there is almost nothing the Amazon CEO couldn’t buy, but why spend money when you don’t have to? Save a few million dollars here and there and soon it really starts to add up.
Bezos’ frugal philosophy is angering New York taxpayers, though, who as part of a new agreement will be footing the bill to construct a helipad for Bezos at Amazon’s new headquarters in Queens.
It's safe to say Jeff Bezos will not be taking the subway to work. https://t.co/76LYpzbZmG— Slate (@Slate) November 13, 2018
Since Amazon announced plans to open up a second company headquarters, more than 200 cities across the United States, Canada, and Mexico have been bending over backward to try and lure in the retail giant.
It’s not hard to see why. With Amazon promising 50,000 high-paying jobs and $5 billion in local investments, the massive project would be an economic boon to whatever city was chosen.
After more than a year of searching, the company announced it would be splitting its new HQ2 between Crystal City, Virginia, and Queens, New York. But with the cities offering billions in tax breaks, fee reductions, relocation grants, and other incentives, Amazon may be getting the better end of the deal.
One of the incentives New York offered is a new helipad for Bezos and company — all paid for by taxpayers.
Tucked into the 32-page memorandum of understanding between New York and Amazon is a promise by the city to “assist in securing access to a helipad” on or near the development sites. Virginia has included a similar clause in their agreement with Amazon.
According to the agreement, the helipad is only to be used by Amazon executives, and the company is limited to 120 landings per year but, in a city plagued by transportation issues, it’s not much of a consolation.
As subway infrastructure continues to crumble, New Yorkers were less than happy about subsidizing luxury incentives for billionaires.
This is one of the most batshit issues about them coming to NYC in what has been a gruesome day of politicians drooling on Bezos... The L train is about to shut down for a year and a half, & NYC taxpayers are buying him a helipad??— Aaron Stewart-Ahn (@somebadideas) November 14, 2018
Cuomo: We don't have enough money to fix the subway— David Sirota (@davidsirota) November 13, 2018
Also Cuomo: We have plenty of money to buy Jeff Bezos a helipad https://t.co/WH9iJOKrMR
I demand that everybody who rides the 7 regularly gets free helicopter rides from Jeff's new helipad.— Lena Afridi (@lpafridi) November 13, 2018
And people could think of far better uses for public funds.
Amazon has $30 billion cash on hand.— Greg Wilson (@joke2power) November 14, 2018
NYC schools, roads, teachers, police, firefighters, could use that $1.5 billion more than Bezos & his online shopping, tax free grifters https://t.co/yllLEXaXwr
But subsidized helipads might be the least of New Yorkers’ problems once Amazon starts moving into the neighborhood.
Amazon is a billion-dollar company. The idea that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need MORE investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 13, 2018
When we talk about bringing jobs to the community, we need to dig deep:— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 13, 2018
- Has the company promised to hire in the existing community?
- What’s the quality of jobs + how many are promised? Are these jobs low-wage or high wage? Are there benefits? Can people collectively bargain?
Displacement is not community development. Investing in luxury condos is not the same thing as investing in people and families.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 13, 2018
Shuffling working class people out of a community does not improve their quality of life.
Offering massive corporate welfare from scarce public resources to one of the wealthiest corporations in the world at a time of great need in our state is just wrong.— Sen. Mike Gianaris (@SenGianaris) November 11, 2018
The burden should not be on the 99 percent to prove we are worthy of the 1 percent’s presence in our communities, but rather on Amazon to prove it would be a responsible corporate neighbor.— Sen. Mike Gianaris (@SenGianaris) November 11, 2018
Corporate responsibility should take precedence over corporate welfare.
Of course, Bezos could probably avoid the public outcry if he promised to share.
Hey, maybe we can all use it?— Barbara O'Toole (@barbaraot) November 13, 2018