Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic U.S. Representative candidate from New York. (Photographer: Dania Maxwell/Bloomberg)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Isn’t Happy About Amazon’s New York City Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Amazon’s promise to bring 25,000 high-paying jobs to Queens has one of New York’s newest politicians speaking out against a major project that the governor and the mayor favored.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won an underdog race to represent New York City’s 14th congressional district, which is near the Long Island City location where Amazon will set up shop, is worried that the tech company’s big investment will displace people struggling to make ends meet. The neighborhood is already home to the country’s largest public housing project and the self-described democratic socialist says tax incentives promised to the company could be better spent on more urgent needs.

"Displacement is not community development," she tweeted in a string of comments about the deal. "Investing in luxury condos is not the same thing as investing in people and families. Shuffling working class people out of a community does not improve their quality of life."

Ocasio-Cortez, 29, the youngest woman elected to Congress in the midterm elections and a former bartender from the Bronx, made headlines recently about her difficulty finding a Washington apartment that she could afford before her congressional salary kicks in in January.

Another New York lawmaker, Ron Kim, proposed legislation that would cut New York’s economic development subsidies, including the Amazon incentives, and use the money to pay off student loan debt.

"Instead of giving billions to #Amazon, if we use that money to #cancelstudentdebt, the ROI to our local economy (jobs, GDP, more circulation of wealth) would be tangibly greater," Kim wrote on Twitter.

The backlash Tuesday highlights Amazon’s difficult position as one of the world’s most-valuable companies led by the world’s wealthiest man, founding Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos. Amazon has come under criticism from other politicians, too, for even taking any city or state money, which some have labeled “corporate welfare.”

Amazon’s $5 billion investment in New York and Arlington, Virginia, will bring an economic boom, but many will be left out and could be squeezed from their homes due to rising rents. The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon’s announcement has unleashed a condo boom in Long Island City with units in the neighborhood selling via text, sight unseen.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigned hard to win the Amazon site, claiming that the economic boost from thousands of high-paying jobs will spread throughout the region. Meanwhile, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who represents the 12th district that includes Long Island City, remained quiet on the issue. She was one of New York’s elected officials that signed a letter touting the benefits of the neighborhood to Amazon earlier in the selection process.

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