Philly Green Party

Philly Greens to Amazon: “Stay Away”

Posted in Local and Regional News, Press Releases on Oct 17, 2017

Green Party to Amazon: Stay Away from Philly

http://www.gp.org/amazon_stay_away

PHILADELPHIA, PA – On October 19, cities across the country will submit their proposals to become the home of Amazon’s new $5 billion headquarters. The Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP) City Committee condemns Mayor Jim Kenney’s decision to enter Philadelphia into this competition while ignoring the harsh reality of the poor and working class citizens of Philadelphia. Far from improving our city, an Amazon headquarters would only exacerbate the crises we already face.

Amazon, which made $136 billion in revenue in 2016, is demanding tax breaks from the city it selects as its new home. Philadelphia cannot afford any more corporate welfare. The city has already given Comcast a ten-year property tax abatement in addition to tens of millions of dollars for Comcast’s new Center City building. It seems Mayor Kenney, a willing participant in Amazon’s bribery, can somehow put money on the table for Amazon but can’t seem to do so for the people of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is the poorest big city in the U.S. Over 400,000 Philadelphians live below the federal poverty line, including 37% of the city’s children. Childhood hunger has more than tripled in parts of Philadelphia since 2006. But instead of using city money to end this crippling poverty, Mayor Kenney has promised millions of dollars to a massive corporation that only pays an average of 13% in taxes. Lauren Hitt, the Mayor’s communications director, has even said the city could overhaul its tax system for Amazon, saying, “We do have business taxes, but that’s something that could be looked at in the scope of Amazon coming here.”

Amazon claims its new headquarters will create 50,000 jobs, but Amazon has long been waging war against workers. The company has vigorously and consistently fought against its employees’ attempts at unionization and treats its workers with deadly disregard. In 2011, Amazon stationed ambulances outside its Allentown warehouse, where a lack of air conditioning allowed temperatures to rise over 100 degrees and caused 15 employees to collapse. A 2015 report by the New York Times detailed Amazon’s vile corporate workplace practices, including placing a woman who had recently had a stillborn child on a “performance improvement plan.”

According to S&P, Amazon “has been a major indirect contributor to higher housing prices and rents.” In Amazon’s current home of Seattle, rents have skyrocketed by 57% since 2011 and housing prices have increased as much as 13% per year. Philadelphia is already dealing with a housing crisis, and an Amazon headquarters would put that crisis into overdrive. The median house price in Philadelphia has soared 33% in the last decade, while the city lost 20% of its low-cost rental units between 2000 and 2014. By refusing to house the homeless but promising millions to house a multi-billion-dollar corporation, Mayor Kenney reveals his morally bankrupt priorities that put profits before people.

The Green Party of Philadelphia encourages all city residents to call Mayor Kenney at 215-686-2181 on Thursday, October 19 and tell him they oppose bringing Amazon to Philadelphia.

Taj Magruder, a Member At-Large of the GPOP City Committee, said, “It’s time to put a stop to corporate welfare in Philadelphia. We refuse to sell our city to Amazon.” Chris Robinson, GPOP Membership Secretary, said, “I agree with Taj that we must ban Amazon from Philadelphia. The Green Party sees the economy as being a support for a harmonious community and a healthy environment. Contrary to the two corporate parties, the Green Party platform says that ‘the giant multinational corporation [like Amazon] is the world’s most potent force for environmental and social destruction.’ Mega-monopolies like Amazon will find no friends in a Green Philadelphia.”

The Green Party is an independent political party founded on the four pillars of grassroots democracy, nonviolence, ecological wisdom, and social justice. For information about the Green Party of Philadelphia, please email gpop@gpop.org. Follow us on Twitter at @GreenPartyofPHL and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GreenPartyOfPhiladelphia.
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