Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday ripped critics across the political spectrum as “totally hypocritical”– including the New York Times, New York Post and CNN — for slamming the $2.8 billion incentive package the city and state offered Amazon to open a new headquarters in Long Island City.
“This transaction is a lightning rod for the political rhetoric on both extremes,” Cuomo said in an op-ed.
He said that media companies that own the Post, Times and CNN have sought or received similar tax benefits from New York.
He said The Post argues “we should lower taxes for all businesses rather than just provide incentives. Their theory is that if taxes were reduced, you wouldn’t need to incentivize any company to come to this state because taxes would be irrelevant in their economic calculus.”
He said that’s “unrealistic and impossible” because “unless all states had the same tax rate, there would always be economic incentives to move to one state or the other.”
He then took aim at the Times.
“The New York Times is also being totally hypocritical. . . .The New York Times itself makes the same economic decisions and has also received significant tax benefits from New York State and New York City in making decisions on their locations,” Cuomo said.
“In fact, when the Times announced in 2001 that it would move into a new building in Times Square, it received tens of millions in tax breaks from New York City. What’s more, the Times asked the State to use its powers to override city zoning processes over local opposition—the same powers now being criticized for their use in the Amazon deal.”
He noted that CNN, which also rapped the transaction, has “also been the recipient of significant public subsidies receiving over $1 billion in state tax credits.”
Cuomo then claimed — without evidence — that the media outlets might be piling on criticism because Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post as well as Amazon “and is a competitor to many interests currently involved in the discussion.”
This story originally appeared in the New York Post.
By Carl Campanile