In Virginia, Amazon faces some New York-style pushback
Buoyed by the success of activists and policymakers in New York, a coalition of community and advocacy groups alongside a handful of local politicians in Northern Virginia are calling on policymakers to reject Amazon’s plans to build a second headquarters in Arlington.
The “For Us, Not Amazon” coalition is calling for transparency from Amazon and politicians over their plans for the East Coast headquarters, which were largely negotiated behind closed doors. They argue, as New York opponents did, that the project will lead to gentrification and rising housing costs that will disproportionately harm low-income and minority communities in the region.
The incentives are contingent on Amazon hiring for those roles over the next 12 years, and the company has claimed that its overall tax payments over the next 20 years in Virginia will reach an estimated $3.2 billion. Amazon said that New York’s tax credits would have amounted to $48,000 per job versus Virginia’s cash grants of $22,000 per job.
“How can money be given to one of the wealthiest companies in the world when we have real social needs that should be prioritized,” said Danny Cendejas, an organizer at La ColectiVA, a collaborative that advocates for social justice and equity on behalf of Virginia’s Latino community.
“Virginia has so many kids learning out of trailers,” he said, referring to underfunding and overcrowding in the state’s public schools. “The state package offered to Amazon could have been used to improve the education system.”