Cuomo may go around state board to approve Amazon HQ deal

Cuomo may go around state board to approve Amazon HQ deal

February 5, 2019

Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised the possibility Tuesday of not bringing the controversial $3 billion Amazon deal to the obscure state Public Authorities Control Board — a day after the state Senate nominated fierce Amazon foe Mike Gianaris to the board.

“I don’t even know what the exact [design will be]. Depending on the exact design of the transaction, it will depend on the approvals we need,” Cuomo said of the board during an interview on WNYC radio.

Cuomo’s comments suggest that he’s considering minimizing the role of the PACB, where a single vote in 2004 killed the football stadium that then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed for the far West Side.

The PACB’s decisions to approve funding must be unanimous — which means Gianaris would have veto power to block any spending on the Amazon package.

Cuomo’s comment are at odds with his position just three months ago.

“The state, through Empire Development Corporation, will do a project plan that will be approved by what’s called the PACB,” he said in November.

Sen. Gianaris (D-Queens), the deputy majority leader, represents the Long Island City neighborhood where Amazon’s new headquarters will be located.

He has repeatedly denounced the incentives the state and city have offered the company.

Cuomo on Tuesday would not even say whether he would accept Gianaris’ nomination to the PACB.

“We’re not there yet,” the governor said.

He vowed to do whatever it takes to advance the project, saying it will produce billions for the city and state.

“What I can reject is the triumph of politics over government,” he said, while conceding “there is a symbolism to Amazon and Bezos. Everybody loves to hate Jeff Bezos.”

He warned that opponents are being shortsighted.

“If Amazon pulled out, you would see all these political voices who are arguing symbolism all of a sudden understand what they did. And it would be a traumatic blow to not just the economy, but also the reputation [of New York],” he said.

“It’s about commerce, it’s about jobs. None of this works without jobs. Free this, free that, free college. We are the most progressive state in the nation. But you need revenue, you need jobs. And you need opportunity.”

He insisted Amazon would not have chosen New York without the tax incentives offered by the city and state.

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