‘But don’t hurt my people and my state. And that’s exactly what they did to make their political point…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, for pushing New York not to give Amazon special tax breaks, calling her actions “disingenuous.”
Evan Dawson interviewed Cuomo Friday on Rochester public radio station WXXI and asked him to discuss the Democratic Party’s “debate about capitalism,” the concentration of economic power, and the recent Amazon controversy.
“It was just incredibly frustrating because it was disingenuous, because they lied about the facts,” Cuomo said. “The facts were 200 states and cities were competing for Amazon and putting together financial incentive packages, which is what every state and city now does.”
If Amazon would have moved its headquarters to New York City, the company would have had to pay $30 billion in taxes during a 10-year period.
New York offered to give Amazon a $3 billion tax break, leaving the city liable for only $27 billion in taxes during the first 10 years.
Cuomo never mentioned Ocasio-Cortez by name, but she was the biggest face of the opposition against the headquarters.
He accused Ocasio-Cortez of spinning the story to make it seem as if New York was going to give Amazon a $3 billion check.
“The opposition said, ‘We’re giving Amazon $3 billion,’” he said. “We said, ‘No, they’re giving us 27, and if they don’t come here, we lose 27 billion, as well as 25,000 jobs.’”
Cuomo argued that Amazon had planned to come to New York City despite the expensive state and local taxes.
“We are always at a disability in New York because we start with a higher tax rate. Our package was much less than anyone else,” he said. “Newark, New Jersey offered $8 billion to Amazon to come there because the value of the 25,000 jobs is so high—$8 billion, right across the river from New York. We offered a $3 billion reduction of the normal tax rate, which is the highest tax rate in the country.”
Cuomo admitted that Ocasio-Cortez is correct in her protest of the Amazon deal, which he said relied upon a crony system—a system that’s necessary because of high taxes in the first place.
But he compared Ocasio-Cortez’s tactics against the crony system to protesting the “farming system” and the “food industry” by not eating.
He agreed, however, that the system should be reformed.
“I don’t like the system,” he said. “The system is too pro-corporate. Yeah, but we have to live today. And you want to change the system, change the system. Go to Washington, actually get something done.”
The interviewer asked if Cuomo should bear responsibility for changing the crony capitalist economic system that the United States has embraced.
“I didn’t create the system. I don’t control the system. If they don’t come here, they go somewhere else. And they did. And we lost 25,000 jobs, and $27 billion because they wanted to play politics,” Cuomo said. “You want to argue for the purpose of the utopian, fine. But don’t hurt my people and my state. And that’s exactly what they did to make their political point.”
Cuomo also gave a short sermon about income inequality, how “government programs” fulfill religious commandments, and problems in the Democratic Party.
“Every religion talks about compassion, tikkun olam in Judaism, reaching out, helping people, Matthew 25, protestant perfect love. Everyone, every religion talks about a better society by helping one another,” he said. “That’s what we should be striving for and that’s we strive for in the state of New York, by the way.”
He criticized how “progressive” the Democrats are becoming on economic issues.
“Current politics on the Democratic side: who’s more progressive? Well I’m anti-big company, I’m anti-corporation, I’m anti-business, Amazon shouldn’t be allowed to come to New York…and it was all politics.”