June 25, 2015
By Jack Cohen, Albany LaborPress
Albany, NY – The New York State Assembly has passed Industrial Development Agency (IDA) reforms that will for the first time require IDAs to have transparency and accountability standards when public money is used for economic development. The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday, June 17. IDA reform has been one of the NYS AFL-CIO’s key initiatives.
“We commend and thank Speaker [Carl] Heastie, Majority Leader [John] Flanagan, Senator [Kathleen] Marchione and Assemblyman [William] Magnarelli for working with Comptroller [Thomas] DiNapoli to pass these important IDA reforms,” said New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento.
The bill will require IDAs to do a better job of gathering projected job data and performing cost benefit analysis before tax dollars are used for project financing or tax exemptions. Businesses that receive financial assistance or tax exemptions from IDAs will be required to adhere to standard application forms, uniform evaluation criteria and project agreements that will help to ensure taxpayers and the local economies truly benefit when taxpayer dollars are used for economic development.
“Reforming the IDA process has been a priority for the Labor Movement for many years,” Client added. “These reforms will bring IDAs back on course to their initial goal, which is to stimulate private sector investment in communities and ultimately create solid middle-class jobs.”
The reforms establish a process that allows local governments to recoup their investment should businesses fail to meet job creation and other economic development promises.