The legislature could have the final say when it comes to Amazon locating in Long Island City, Queens.
The new Democratic Senate majority has recommended Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens to sit on the Public Authorities Control Board, or PACB.
The PACB is an obscure public board that could scuttle the Amazon deal. And Gianaris is a staunch opponent of the deal, which is rich with public tax incentives.
“No I’m not prejudiced on this deal,” Gianaris said. “I have a viewpoint on this deal. It’s not a secret. I’ve been clear and unambiguous and my opinion is unchanging that I think the deal before us is a horrible deal for the people of Queens and the people of New York.”
Technically speaking, all appointees are merely recommendations from the legislature and the governor formally appoints the board.
“The Governor probably doesn’t have to talk to the legislature for a year or two,” said New York State Assemblyman Carl Heastie. “I think it’s 2020. So in essence, I think the legislature has an ability to give an opinion on the Amazon deal, but right now he doesn’t have to deal with the legislature on this.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Governor Cuomo says of Gianaris’s recommendation, “This recommendation puts the self-interest of a flip-flopping opponent of the Amazon project above the State’s economic growth and is a clear sign that the Senate Democrats oppose the 25,000 to 40,000 new technology jobs that would diversify our state’s economy.”
“I don’t know why he does what he does,” said Gianaris in return. “I’m the Deputy Leader of the Senate Majority. My leader saw fit to put my name forward for this important position. I’m honored that she did that. I’m thankful she did that. And it’s up to the Governor to decide if he wants to appoint me.”
Cuomo has said previously that he may not need to go through the PACB for Amazon after all. Others say he will, just not right away. And at that point it may be too late to block the Amazon deal.