Op­pos­ing view: We weren't smart. Ama­zon played us.

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS | OPINION - Michael Gia­naris

Ex­cite­ment was in the air. New York won Ama­zon’s com­pe­ti­tion, which pit­ted states against one an­other to ex­tract the most gen­er­ous sub­sidy pack­age. While some re­joiced over the news, our ag­ing sub­way sys­tem con­tin­ued to crum­ble, Queens par­ents fought over scarce kinder­garten seats, and hous­ing costs sky­rock­eted. In an era of his­toric in­come in­equal­ity, grant­ing mas­sive sub­si­dies to a very wealthy cor­po­ra­tion does not mean we were smart: It means we were played.

While many lo­cal­i­ties went out of their way to offer var­i­ous benefits to Ama­zon, in the end it chose the most pre­dictable, log­i­cal lo­ca­tions for its cor­po­rate offices: the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., metro area and New York City. With ac­cess to large gov­ern­ment and finan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, an un­matched tal­ent pool and ex­cit­ing neigh­bor­hoods at­tract­ing the best and the bright­est from across the globe, it was un­nec­es­sary for New York to offer $3 bil­lion for Ama­zon to choose what was al­ready its most de­sir­able lo­ca­tion, an opin­ion shared by for­mer Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

This fight is not just about Ama­zon but about the reck­on­ing our na­tion faces re­gard­ing long dis­cred­ited eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment poli­cies. We should be well past the trickle-down the­ory of show­er­ing the very rich with tax­payer dol­lars in hopes of get­ting some back for work­ing peo­ple.

Our money is bet­ter spent in­vest­ing di­rectly in our fu­ture: func­tion­ing mass tran­sit, thriv­ing schools, afford­able hous­ing.

We should not need to pay mas­sive cor­po­ra­tions to bring their largess to our com­mu­ni­ties — let us build that fu­ture our­selves.

We are at a crit­i­cal inflec­tion point. Con­tin­u­ing to sub­si­dize com­pa­nies like Ama­zon puts the wants of the wealthy be­fore the pri­or­i­ties of the peo­ple. New York can be the big­gest loser in this cyn­i­cal game, or we can lead the way to a more promis­ing fu­ture. It is time we make the right choice.

Michael Gia­naris, a Demo­crat, is deputy leader of the New York Se­nate. His dis­trict in­cludes Ama­zon’s pro­posed lo­ca­tion in Long Is­land City, Queens.

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