Tag Archives: Buffalo Niagara

The Cost of 9 IDAs in Buffalo-Niagara

15 Dec

Assemblyman Sean Ryan (A-144) held a press conference yesterday to protest the way in which Industrial Development Agencies in Erie County do business. Specifically done in response to the Amherst IDA’s granting of an incentive package to facilitate Premier Liquor & Gourmet’s move from Kenmore to Amherst, Ryan issues three documents outlining the cost/benefit to running nine separate IDAs in Erie and Niagara Counties. By comparison, New York City has only one IDA.

This chart outlines the cost of these tax breaks, and what other things they might have bought, and then compares the annual IDA tax subsidies that are granted each year in New York State against the much-touted Regional Economic Council regional plans submitted and reported on in Albany last week:

IDA chart : Assemblyman Sean Ryan//

Ryan avers that the IDAs have an incentive to remain open as separate entities, and to grant property and sales tax breaks even in cases where one WNY community is poaching from another – the fact that each announced IDA transaction results in a fee to the IDA itself.

IDA Report – Assemblyman Sean Ryan//

Even more egregiously, if the IDA recipient business fails to meet its obligation to create jobs, there is no recourse or “clawback” provision. The common misconception is that IDA incentives exist to lure businesses to the area. Yet Ryan’s study reveals that, of all 71 incentive packages given by the IDAs in Erie and Niagara Counties in 2010, exactly one was to attract a business from out-of-state. The rest were for the expansion or intraregional relocation of existing businesses.

It’s high time the region started streamlining its business development and retention strategies in a coordinated, regional way. IDA incentives given to well-off local companies as a “freebie” with little to no return on investment, which oftentimes results in one WNY community poaching from another needs to stop. Assemblyman Ryan is on the right track here, and it echoes what Erie County Executive-elect Poloncarz was advocating during the last election cycle.


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Niagara County Voices

14 Jul

Bob Confer: Activist and commentator.
Scott Leffler: Lockport broadcaster
Niagara’s Voice: Niagara County political blog
Niagara Journal: Niagara County political blog

Niagara. It’s more than just a waterfall and fail.

Petition to Rename Buffalo's Airport after Tim Russert

18 Jun

Thanks to WBEN for letting me promote this in peak drive-time, live with John and Susan. To sign the petition, click here.

Some have criticized this as being disproportionately too generous for someone who was just doing his job, or was just a mere journalist, and I guess there has been some Russert fatigue setting in among some. Some suggest he shouldn’t receive this honor because he’s a liberal Democrat. Or because he was too easy on George Bush. Or because he’s not an aviator.

All of those criticisms miss the point.

The point isn’t that he was a well-respected journalist. The point isn’t that his was the political junkie’s program of record on Sunday morning. The point isn’t his politics or anything like that.

With Tim Russert, you have a favorite son; a man who never forgot where he came from and was a tireless, vocal ambassador for his hometown, its past glory, and its future potential. When people turned on Meet the Press during football season, they got a reminder of Tim’s roots with his “Go Bills” signoff. When the Sabres were in the playoffs, he expressed his support for them. He wrote a book about growing up in Buffalo that shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. He helped to promote Buffalo Old Home Week/Homecoming.

Orange County named its airport after an actor, John Wayne. Liverpool’s airport is named after a singer/songwriter, John Lennon. John Wayne was an Iowan who lived in Orange County. John Lennon was a favorite son, like Russert. It beats naming a stretch of Route 20, and is, I think, more appropriate than putting his name up in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Tim Russert Buffalo International Airport

17 Jun

If you’re down with the NFTA naming the city’s international gateway after one of its most prominent and well-respected native sons, click here.