New York State and local governments spend billions to generate economic development.
But economic development is a complex process that has no simple formula or roadmap. Given the size of the financial assistance being granted, it is essential that citizens understand what their community is gaining in return.
Accordingly, my office regularly monitors the performance of the state's Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) in an effort to assess how these entities work to attract, retain and expand businesses within their communities.
Our annual IDA report, which was released today, found the state's 109 active IDAs provided $1.1 billion in total tax exemptions in 2014. These IDA-sponsored projects reported a total of 645,010 full-time jobs, which reflects an increase of 235,888 jobs over the life of these projects.
As you can see, IDAs are an important catalyst for economic development in our state. But as the value of tax exemptions to private businesses continues to increase, taxpayers must be reassured that their community is receiving promised benefits.
Thankfully, my legislative proposal to increase transparency and scrutiny of IDAs was signed into law last year and will result in better evaluation of the economic impact they are having in New York.
This legislation (S.5867/A.7915) will improve the process by which IDAs approve new projects, the quality of the information they gather about the projects, and policies for recapturing financial assistance if project goals are not met. The new law, developed with support from the New York Economic Development Council, becomes effective on June 15.
I hope you find this report informative. If you have questions, contact our Division of Local Government and School Accountability.