Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., sought a tax break for herself in 2012 so she could launch her own startup company according to a Tuesday Washington Examiner report.
Ocasio-Cortez, who just a few months ago helped block a proposal to bring Amazon’s much-hyped second headquarters to New York City, sought tax breaks from the city to help launch her startup, Brook Avenue Press.
“Plenty of entrepreneurs have started their businesses on a shoestring and any break they receive means more flexibility for further growth,” Ocasio-Cortez said at the time according to the Examiner, citing a 2012 news release.
“A tax break could mean part-time work for someone else or keeping a business’ doors open long enough to turn a profit. Young entrepreneurs are playing a special role in developing promising, creative enterprises for our future, and a small break can open up their resources for hiring, creating a new product, or reinvesting in the local economy,” Ocasio-Cortez added.
The press release, which was put out by Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y, sought support for the Small Business Start-up Support Act. If approved, the bill would have doubled tax deductions for start-up costs from $5,000 to $10,000.
Steve Horwitz, a distinguished professor of free enterprise at Ball State University and senior affiliated scholar at the Mercatus Center, told the Washington Examiner the tax break was exactly the kind of thing Amazon was asking for in the New York deal.
“Why should anyone be exempt from taxation if part of our obligation to others is to pay taxes and provide for the sort of services that democratic socialists think that various levels of government should provide?” Horwitz said of the small business tax break. “This is the kind of thing Amazon was asking for in Long Island.”
But Ocasio-Cortez spearheaded the charge to back out of the Amazon deal, mostly due to the $1.2 billion in tax benefits the company was set to receive.
“Amazon is a billion-dollar company. The idea that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need MORE investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here,” she wrote last fall when the deal was initially announced.
Horwitz told the Examiner that the government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers, regardless of whether tax breaks are for small businesses or large companies like Amazon.
Chris Edwards, the director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, told the Examiner the proposal Ocasio-Cortez supported in 2012 was the kind of idea Republicans would typically support.
“It’s a very Republican proposal because it moves the way the GOP has long advocated, which is allowing more ‘expensing’ or immediate write-offs of business investment,” Edwards said.
Cost of the GOP Tax Scam for the rich:💰~$1.8-2.3 Trillion
Cost of forgiving all student loans in America:💰~$1.5 Trillion
Clearly where there’s a will, there’s a way.
When people say that there isn’t “enough” to do these things, what they mean is they don’t *want* to do them. https://t.co/RvcYk8kbEy
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 13, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez has faced intense backlash for her role in helping scuttle the Amazon deal, which ended up costing the city nearly 25,000 jobs. The majority of voters in her own district disagree with the freshmen representative’s stance on the deal according recent polling, while most blame her for the proposal falling through.