Watch CBS News

Cuomo: Amazon Backing Out 'The Greatest Tragedy I Have Seen Since I Have Been In Government'

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo is sounding off on Amazon's backing out of a deal to put one of its second headquarters in New York City.

"What happened is the greatest tragedy that I have seen since I have been in government," Cuomo said. He told WAMC radio that he was beyond annoyance over losing the Amazon deal and even sick to his stomach.

Cuomo's public comments were his first on the topic since his office issued a statement Feb. 14, the day the Seattle-based internet retailer announced it was backing out of an agreement to redevelop a site in Queens.

Cuomo said the project would have brought in 25,000 jobs and $27 billion in revenues in exchange for $3 billion in incentives, and mocked those he said failed to understand it.

"Instead of paying us $30 billion in taxes over 20 years, pay us $27 billion. So they quote unquote got a $3 billion tax break. They pay us $27 [billion] instead of $30 [billion]. They get a $3 billion reduction," Cuomo said. "This is crucial, because what the opposition says is 'We gave them $3 billion.' No. They gave us $27 billion, and them leaving, now we get nothing. You know what I want to say to the officials who say 'We gave them $3 billion?' Good. Take that $3 billion and pay your salary with that non-existent $3 billion, because there is no $3 billion."

The governor singled out the senate Democratic leadership for picking an opponent of the deal, St Sen. Michael Gianaris, who represents the Long Island City, to a board that could veto the plan.

"He's already on record saying 'no how, no way.' Amazon says 'Well, this kills the project,'" Cuomo said.

"It's unfortunate that Governor Cuomo is once again failing to accept any responsibility for this failed deal," Senate Democratic Majority Director Mike Murphy said in a statement. "New Yorkers deserve facts from their elected leaders. The governor should spend less time with baseless attacks and attempts to divide Democrats and more time fixing his flawed economic development process so we can move forward and help business and community thrive."

"This is a serious political attack on the governor," said political analyst Hank Sheinkopf.

Sheinkopf says Cuomo is bitter over a tarnished legacy.

"This is a third term. Third terms stink. He's needed something to glide through and say 'Look what I accomplished.' They took the greatest accomplishment away from this governor on the way out the door," Sheinkopf said. "What do you think he's going to do? He's going to say 'thank you very much?' No, he's going to say 'off with their heads.'"

Cuomo says many of the deal's opponents are novices and are having trouble making the transition from politics to governing.

He wouldn't say whether he would support a primary opponent for Gianaris.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.