Tag Archives: IDA

Corporate Welfare

21 Nov

Amazing, isn’t it, that corporate welfare through Industrial Development Agencies is so ingrained in local business culture, that it is tantamount to a profile in courage for Clarence’s IDA to consider rejecting providing such welfare to a Mini dealership that wants to relocate from one side of Main Street to the other. 

The IDA culture in western New York is like belonging to a very exclusive country club. The IDAs are made up of politically connected people who decide whether to give handouts, loans, tax breaks, and incentives to people and businesses who are also politically connected. Because the IDA system in western New York is a prime example of disunity and lack of regional vision, IDAs too often poach businesses from one part of WNY to another, or else – as here – simply use public money to subsidize a successful business’ expansion within the same town. 

If Towne Mini is doing well, then let Towne Mini finance its own move. If its expansion is going to make it so much money that sales taxes alone will amount to $650,000 per year, then make sure there’s not a lot of red tape in the way of construction and be done with it. 

But it’s high time that our quasi-governmental corporate welfare entities banded together for the industrial development of western New York as a whole, and stop selectively granting tax breaks to one German-English automotive marque over any other. Ryan has been beating the IDA reform drum for some time, and handing tax breaks to assist a BMW subsidiary to move to bigger digs across the street hardly sounds like a good idea. Let Mini pay for its own expansion, and beware of other towns’ IDAs looking to offer Mini better deals to move to Amherst or elsewhere. 

IDA Report – Assemblyman Sean Ryan

As for Clarence’s IDA, the website is woefully out of date, with the last agenda and minutes entries dating back to mid-summer. Perhaps some more transparency and information would be welcome. 

ID-Nay

11 Jan

As futile as it may have been, this simple act by new County Executive Poloncarz – a no vote on the county IDA, which is quick to hand out free money to its good friends for upscale housing – is ground-shaking.

For all the Republicans’ talk about how awful it is to redistribute wealth, they’re completely fine with it when the redistribution is going their way.

The jig is up.

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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The Buffalopundit Podcast, Episode 1: Clarence Shenanigans

8 Sep

What follows is a first for me – a podcast. It’s a bit long, and done mostly because the information I have to convey to you is in an audio file. It has to do with the Clarence IDA, its chairman, David Hartzell, and the fact that Hartzell is running for town supervisor as a Republican against Democratic incumbent Scott Bylewski.

It’s a tale about hypocrisy and politicization of nominally apolitical body.

Jeff Feinen applied to do marketing work for the IDA. Feinen also happened to execute a general objection to certain of Hartzell’s Conservative Party nominating petitions, because he’s helping the Bylewski campaign. What follows is commentary, followed by the entire exchange between Hartzell, Bylewski, and town attorney Steve Bengart over what Hartzell calls Feinen’s and Bylewski’s politicization of the IDA:

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Download the audio file here.