New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Monday attacked people who he called extreme “socialists” for jeopardizing Amazon’s bid to build a second headquarters in his state.
In an op-ed published on Monday, Cuomo defended the Amazon deal as “an historic transformative moment for the entire New York City region.” The state is offering Amazon up to $3 billion in tax breaks if it locates one of its newest headquarters in Long Island.
Cuomo noted that the Amazon project has attracted “ideological and political points of view” but he argued that “we must still govern and analyze based on facts.”
“This transaction is a lightning rod for the political rhetoric on both extremes,” the governor wrote. “The extreme conservatives and the socialists both now vehemently oppose ‘incentives’ for Amazon, which is one of the most profitable companies in the country.”
“On the other side of the extreme, the socialists argue that we gave a $1 billion grant to one of the richest men in the country and that we should have given that money to the poor and the needy,” Cuomo complained. “They also argue that we should let Amazon come to New York but provide no incentive. However, without the incentive Amazon, which owes duties to its stockholders (including the New York Pension Plan) would not come to New York and would not bring their revenues or jobs.”
He went on to say that the criticism by “socialists” and conservative extremists is “merely a sign of the times—and the times are troubled.”
“Political polarization tears at our social fabric,” Cuomo insisted. “But when the lens of public officials is fogged by political expediency, bad decisions are made. When opinion-makers cater to hyper partisan ideologies and take hypocritical positions, honest debate suffers.”
Referring to “socialists” as extremists will likely anger some Democrats, who see socialist policies as a necessary part of America’s safety net for the most vulnerable.