My name is Kenneth Mulvena; the vice chair of the Libertarian Party of Queens.
I love free market capitalism, despise most of the burdensome regulation and high taxes my city and state suffer from, and I am glad that Amazon has cancelled plans to make a new home in my borough.
You may be shocked and surprised that I stand against welcoming innovative multi-billion dollar businesses to my city. It may seem unusual that I would share the opinion of New York’s most known left-wing politicians. Ideologically, we have different reasons for arriving at the same conclusion:
Left wing politicians stand against Amazon because they are not content with the free market. I stand against Amazon because their relocation is supported by one of the worst systems present in our economy: crony capitalism.
Amazon’s state sponsored relocation package is among the worst examples of cronyism at work: $3 Billion of incentives and $1.7 Billion from New York state tax revenue in exchange for creating 40,000 jobs over 15 years. These special tax breaks don’t help improve New York’s economy. Instead, they shift the ever increasing tax burden further onto the backs of the already suffering middle-class. These tax breaks also give an unfair advantage to big business over small businesses who have no way to escape the tax burden.
The result of crony-capitalist policies is stifled small business, less incentive for innovation, and higher costs. New York’s business environment is already considered the worst of all fifty states in terms of business and economic freedom according to the CATO Institute. Amazon moving into the LIC area of Queens would not have reversed the historically anti-capitalist policies that have caused NY and NYC to become horrible places for businesses.
This attempt by establishment Democrats to bring Amazon to New York is a prime example of how social engineering by modern-day progressive politics is a failure. By offering massive subsidies and special tax deals to Amazon, they are conceding that New York’s burdensome regulations and tax rates incentivize new business and entrepreneurs to work in other states.
The loss of Amazon is further evidence that grand gestures by progressive politicians are not supporting local business. They are only seeking greater power for themselves. These so-called defenders of the working class were willing to give away $3 Billion dollars to the wealthiest company on the planet. Why have they not offered to lower taxes and leave that money with working class to begin with? Why don’t they give tax breaks to local small businesses?
The collapse of the Amazon deal is indicative of the problems occurring across New York, more political favors and crony capitalism leads to greater costs for the middle class. Entrepreneurs are fleeing New York because they can be more successful elsewhere. Political decisions about predetermined wage limits, mandatory minimum benefits, and restrictive business guardrails are slowing economic growth for even the most established companies. A sinking tide carries all ships.
As New York raises taxes to pay for ever-expanding welfare programs, it is clear that these policies are making New York unsustainably expensive for its residents. Hundreds of thousands of people are relocating from New York in favor of states with greater economic and personal freedom.
The legacy of “democratic socialists” in New York will be to hasten the exodus of both people and tax revenue from New York. I love this city. Like many others, my family came here to make a better life. We have made a better life through respect for others individual rights, voluntary transactions with our community, and the power of the free market.
New York is still a cultural symbol of endless opportunity, but it is dying under the weight of growing government. In Queens, my home, there are hardworking, entrepreneurial, and determined people. Culturally, Queens is diverse and new businesses are being created that would help all people improve their lives. The crucial values that have made this city great have been under attack and are dying at the hands of big government and cronyism.
The Amazon debacle should be a catalyst for the people of New York. An inspiration to fight back against the politicians who claim to fight for us, while enriching only themselves. Economic growth and prosperity will not come from the mandates of special political crony deals, it will happen the same way it always has: through the freedom of entrepreneurs, current business owners, and aspiring business owners that have made New York the home I love.