Author of scathing report about Amazon’s impact on its warehouse communities wants Central New York to ‘be aware’

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s not certain Amazon will open a distribution center in Central New York, but if it does, the author of a scathing report about Amazon has advice for local leaders.

In an interview with NewsChannel 9’s Andrew Donovan, Daniel Flaming, president of The Economic Roundtable, wants Central New York to “keep its eyes open.”

His report, published Tuesday, claims that “Amazon’s trucking operations in 2018 created $642 million in uncompensated public costs.”

On average, the research reads, for every $1 paid in wages by Amazon, the warehouse workers require $0.24 in public benefits. That’s more than $5,000 every year, per employee, of money paid by local taxpayers to offset the Amazon workers’ wages and benefits.

Flaming says that the $30,000 per year salary makes sense, if the workers include full time status with overtime. He says, “That job is important for somebody who’s desperate for employment, but it doesn’t pay the minimum cost for them and their family. Amazon is sometimes a transient warehouse user. They’ll use a warehouse and move on. It’s important to understand that these disruptions and the benefits of jobs may not be permanent.”

If the Clay project turns out like Amazon’s warehouses in California, Flaming says people living nearby can expect more traffic. He says, “One of the biggest social costs is from increased risks of accidents from truck traffic. There’s also pollution along highways and roads where trucks move.”

“I think the consideration with Amazon is it’s an energetic, successful, rapidly growing company doing what we want. But they’re also profitable and they can afford to pay the full cost for their service. Be aware there are costs as well as benefits with having a large logistics employer move into the community,” says Flaming.

A spokesperson for Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon, who supports the warehouse project in Clay, writes NewsChannel 9: “A tenant has not been named and as has been the case previously, the County Executive isn’t going to speculate or comment on what are just hypotheticals at this point.”

Earlier this month, the Clay Town Board approved a zoning change for the Liverpool Golf and Country Club from a golf course to an industrial area, so Texas-based Developer Trammell Crow can build the distribution center, promising a minimum of 1,000 jobs.

Andrew Donovan’s Full Interview

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