Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is out today with a report on the progress of New York State's Industrial Development Authorities that questions how effective they are in creating jobs with taxpayer subsidies.
"For four years, I've called on IDAs to improve the accuracy of the jobs data," DiNapoli said. "Taxpayers should know if the projects they’re paying for are creating the jobs that were promised. Year after year, we've had serious questions about the effectiveness of IDAs. We need to make sure that the tax breaks given for these projects are promoting job retention and growth. New York has a lot of local economic development entities; developing a regional, coordinated approach is very difficult. We have to fix that."
From the report:
"The overlapping nature of these economic development efforts can make the task of establishing a regional, coordinated approach difficult. Moreover, there have been and continue to be persistent problems and questions related to local governments' use of LDCs, and to IDA performance and accountability. In response, Comptroller DiNapoli recently advanced a reform package that would limit municipal use of LDCs to finance local government operations and the acquisition or improvement of their assets. He has also increased oversight of IDA operations through audits, issuance of an annual performance report and more rigorous review of IDA reports. Presently, if an IDA's annual audited financial statement is not filed or is found to be incomplete, the IDA's authority to offer financial assistance which provides exemptions from certain State taxes is suspended.
• IDAs provided total gross tax exemptions of $1.2 billion in 2009. These exemptions were partially offset by the receipt of payments-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOTs) totaling nearly $700 million, resulting in net tax exemptions of almost $500 million. Net exemptions declined by almost $150 million from 2008 due largely to ongoing adjustments in reporting methods by the New York City IDA. These adjustments also affect the average cost per job gained.
• Projects receiving IDA assistance employed 724,390 full-time equivalent workers in 2009. This represents a cumulative net gain of 204,172 jobs from IDA projects over the life of the projects."
The full report is here: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/research/idaperformance2011.pdf
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