Amazon plays politics with expansion plans

    Amazon, facing criticism over tax breaks, abruptly dropping plans to build in Queens may have been what New York Mayor Bill de Blasio calls a “shock to the system,” but, as The New York Times reports, the reversal mirrors the company’s interactions with officials in other states.

    Virtually all of America’s largest businesses drive a hard bargain with governments, angling for benefits and financial incentives. Amazon, though, often plays politics with a distinctive message: Give us what we want, or we’ll leave and take our jobs elsewhere.

    The tactics help Amazon squeeze as much as possible out of politicians.

    Overall, the company has collected more than $2.4 billion taxpayer subsidies for its offices, warehouses and data centers, according to Good Jobs First, a nonprofit organization that tracks corporate tax breaks.

    “They are just as cutthroat as can be,” said Alex Pearlstein, vice president at Market Street Services, which helps cities, including those with Amazon warehouses, attract employers.

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