June 30, 2022
Disturbing published reports have indicated that Amazon and Syosset Park Development, LLC may be attempting to do an “end-run” around the committment they made to the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) to create 150 new warehouse jobs in Syosset as a condition of them receiving a lucrative package of tax breaks and incentives. This would be an affront to Nassau taxpayers that must be addressed forcefully and with significant repercussions as promised at the outset.
In March 2021, the Nassau County IDA awarded approximately $11 million in tax breaks to Amazon and Syosset Park Development, LLC over the course of the next 15 years to aid in the construction of a 204,000 square-foot “last mile” facility on Syosset Park Lots 251 and 252 (305 Robbins Lane, Syosset).
These incentives were awarded in part based upon Amazon and Syosset Park Development, LLC’s agreement to create 150 new warehouse jobs in Syosset. Furthermore, as stated in their application to the IDA, that the new warehouse would not “result in the removal or abandonment of a plant or facility of the applicant … or relocation of any employee of the applicant” located within Nassau County.
That is why I was so outraged to read in Newsday on June 23, 2022, that Amazon plans to close its existing warehouse in Bethpage and move employees to the new Syosset facility, thereby depriving Nassau residents of the benefit of the 150 new employment opportunities that they were promised in exchange for the use of their tax dollars.
As a matter of public record, I have always supported the redevelopment and environmental remediation of this site - one that languished in our community for decades. However, I have opposed IDA tax breaks for Amazon from the onset because of the corporation’s remarkable wealth, its brazen union-busting activities, and the documented negative impact on local wages in communities where Amazon sets up shop. Moreover, I believed that a more innovative use of the land would have reaped greater benefits for Syosset residents now and in the future.
Nevertheless, the Nassau IDA made a decision to enter an agreement with Amazon and Syosset Park Development, LLC - and now the Nassau IDA must hold them to it. While I am gratified that Chairman Richard Kessel stated he is directly engaging with Amazon to address these shocking revelations, the Nassau IDA must accept nothing short of full adherence to the agreement that Amazon signed. Should they fail or refuse, the IDA must claw back every cent of tax incentives that were previously awarded to Amazon related to this project.
Failure to do so would establish a dangerous precedent for future applicants - one in which acts of non-compliance or even duplicity would not only be permitted, but in fact rewarded.
Arnold W. Drucker, of Plainview, was first elected to the Nassau County Legislature in 2016. He represents the 16th Legislative District in the Nassau County Legislature.