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Amazon confronted over tax breaks in Hamburg

Posted at 11:27 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 23:27:33-05

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WKBW) — Amazon and the Hamburg Industrial Development Agency are working on an agreement that would bring a nearly $50-million facility to the corner of Route 5 and Bayview. In order to secure the deal, Hamburg is offering tax incentives for the company to expand to the Southtowns.

Wednesday night, the IDA held its second public hearing on the proposal. Some believe it's a perfect fit for the area and are thrilled with the jobs it could bring.

State Senator Sean Ryan, a Democrat who represents Hamburg, and an Amazon representative went back and forth at the meeting. They argued about whether it's necessary for one of the largest companies in the world to receive financial assistance to construct a facility in Hamburg.

“Help me understand why you need this tax benefit and why you didn't need it to build the larger facilities in different parts of Erie County,” asked Senator Ryan.

A representative from Amazon stated this facility is different than any other Amazon sites in Erie County because most of those sites rely on part time employees.

“We're not able to commit to the level of full-time jobs in order to consider IDA assistance and make the request because we're not able to commit to full time employment at that location,” said Brad Griggs a Senior Manager of Economic Development at Amazon, about already existing Amazon facilities.

Others who spoke against the Amazon plan at Wednesday's meeting believe the Hamburg IDA should be looking for companies who pay more than $15 an hour.

Most members with the IDA support the project, not all support the tax incentives.

This project would be considered a "last mile" facility. Meaning the last leg of the journey for a package before arriving to a customer.