State Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens was named as deputy majority leader. Gianaris has been in the news a lot lately not for his new post in the legislature, but for being an outspoken critic of the deal that will bring Amazon's HQ2 to his Long Island City district.
As part of Stewart-Cousins' leadership team – along with State Senator Jose Serrano of the Bronx – it puts Gianaris in a unique position to challenge fellow Queens native Governor Andrew Cuomo over the deal.
And while the governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio worked hard to ensure that neither the City Council nor state lawmakers would be able to scuttle the Amazon deal, there is a potential way for the state legislature to throw a wrench into it.
The program that will offer the tax credits to Amazon have caps in place for the coming years that in 2022 go all the way down to $33 million. The $1.2 billion that Amazon is being promised in return for creating 25,000 jobs would obliterate those caps.
Which means the state legislature would have to lift them.
Gianaris and Stewart-Cousins have worked closely in the state legislature, and both were fierce critics of the Independent Democratic Conference, the group of breakaway Democrats that fired up progressive voters and gave the Democrats a solid 40-23 edge in the State Senate in the coming year.
In other words, Gianaris will have the ear of the majority leader and a solid voting bloc to help advance his aims if he truly wants to find some way to prevent Amazon from coming to Queens.
Where is the deadlocked state legislature when Cuomo needs it!