Tuesday, July 3, 2012

NEWS BLOG: Industrial development agencies, by the numbers

Posted By on Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Last year, the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency (COMIDA) approved more projects than any other IDA in New York, says a report from the state Authorities Budget Office. But those projects have not resulted in the most private investment.

COMIDA approved 40 projects, totaling $81.7 million in private investments and approximately $1.5 million in various tax exemptions, says the report. The NiagaraCountyIDA had 14 projects totaling $432.3 million worth of private investment and $4.4 million in exemptions. One of those projects is a massive $400 million paper mill, however, says an end-of-the-year slideshow from that county.

The job creation figures are trickier. COMIDA reports that it's gaining 494 full-time equivalent jobs through its projects, placing it among the top in terms of job creation. Niagara, on the other hand, expects a gain of 61 full-time-equivalent positions. But the NiagaraCountyIDA also anticipates that its projects will generate approximately 3,400 temporary construction jobs. COMIDA projects the creation of 330 temporary construction jobs. Statewide, some IDA projects are more construction heavy, while others create long-term jobs.

A frequent criticism of COMIDA and the state's other IDAs is that they don't get enough bang for the buck. That's where these numbers become important: can the numbers and types of jobs created justify the tax revenue losses? That's not an easy question to answer, and it will be a continuing debate in New York.

For comparison, here's how a few other IDA's stack up, according to the Authorities Budget Office report:

  • The Amherst IDA, which reported investments of $119 million for five projects and approximately $672,000, reported a gain of 496 full-time-equivalent positions. The projects created 41 construction jobs.
  • The ErieCountyIDA reported five projects totaling approximately $20 million in private investment and $636,500 in tax exemptions. It expects an increase of 18 full-time-equivalent positions and the creation of 145 construction jobs.
  • The OnondagaCountyIDA reported four projects with $23.1 million worth of private investment and $325,800 in tax exemptions. It expects an increase of 40 full-time-equivalent positions and the creation of 236 construction jobs.

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