It is unclear what action the lawmakers can or will take to modify or scrap the project. Last week, Democrats won back the New York Senate, giving the party unified control of government and potentially increasing the chances of legislative action related to Amazon.
State Assemblyman Ron Kim, who represents parts of Queens, plans to introduce legislation to cancel the Amazon subsidies and redirect the tax breaks to student debt relief. It is unclear how much support the measure could draw.
Amazon did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request to comment on the criticism.
Not all New York Democrats oppose Amazon’s presence in the city. In a joint news conference Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — who frequently butt heads — cheered Amazon’s decision.
De Blasio said the move consolidates New York City as “a great international tech hub.” The governor said Amazon’s plans are “about being a part of the economy of tomorrow” and put the Queens neighborhood “ahead of the curve.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, with whom de Blasio frequently butts heads, also supports Amazon’s presence in the city. Former New York City Mayor and potential Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, as well, cheered the decision in a statement, saying it vindicates the city’s efforts to become a technology hub.
The reactions to Amazon highlight a gulf between the more mainstream, pro-business wing of the Democratic Party and its more populist officials. The party’s liberal wing has taken aim at various corporations and executives, such as Amazon and billionaire CEO Jeff Bezos, who they say have taken advantage of workers.
In October, Amazon increased its hourly minimum wage for all U.S. employees to $15 per hour. While it is unclear how much he directly influenced the decision, populist Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, had repeatedly hammered Amazon and Bezos over their treatment of workers.
The divide in the Democratic Party was further highlighted in the reactions of top Virginia Democrats. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said he was “excited about the potential” Amazon offers but added that “we must commit to implementing this announcement in a way that will benefit the whole region” and all of Virginia.
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam called the Amazon offices “a big win for Virginia.”