Thanks for highlighting this, Mr. Johnston. It's a shame that the courts seem to have overruled the constitutional ban. But, I do hope that we all remember that voters can be a powerful force as well. As you said, in 1979, this policy would be considered scandalous. I think with better understanding of the costs of these policies, maybe it will seem scandalous again. That's why a knowledgable voice like yours is so important.
Thanks for following up on this, Mr. Moule. It's a terrible shame that Empire State Development has apparently decided to just run out the clock on the benefits, rather than claw them back. I'm pretty sure the EZ law, flawed as it was, permits removing businesses from the program. Shocking, really, that they are willing to allow maybe millions more in refunds to flow to this developer.
I will quibble with your phrasing that the developer is getting reimbursed "in a way." It's really more direct than that -- on the annual reports the company files, property taxes and PILOT payments are a category of reimbursable expense from the EZ program. There is no doubt that NYS is refunding these payments explicitly.
@J, totally with you on StartUp NY. Why the governor thinks it is revolutionary to basically resurrect the EZ program is beyond me. I wonder what tax free moochers we will be outraged about in 10 years?
Are you aware that the developer receives a refund from the state for his PILOT payments by virtue of Medley being located in an Empire Zone? The Syracuse Post Standard has published the amount of these refunds for several years, via a searchable database on their website -- data through 2010. I asked Empire State Development for the amount for 2011, and it was nearly half a million dollars. So, it's not fair to say that Congel has paid his PILOT payments. The taxpayers of NY have paid his PILOT payments. By my estimation, NYS has refunded him (or the previous owner) over $2.5 million since 2007, while the project paid slightly less than that in PILOT and property taxes. Add this to whatever tax write off he is getting for depreciation on the building, and he is making money on this situation.
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