We the People have every right to question whether tax breaks granted by the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) are producing the promised economic benefits. For those not familiar with the issue, the following paragraphs come in handy.
From Ulster County Cloakroom:
This is classic lazy journalism. DiNapoli writes that a number of businesses in Ulster County could lose tax breaks or be subject to other sanctions, but she cannot be bothered to ask which businesses O’Halloran is referring to. Her article doesn’t say that the THR tried and failed to obtain this information (which is publicly available). So, why the omission? Could it be that one of these “underperfomers” is Skate Time 209, which is owned by O’Halloran patrons Len and Terry Bernardo? How convenient of DiNapoli to leave this information out of her article.
From Liberty Coalition (yes, it’s about Skate Time 209):
For example if a business applied for IDA assistance – whether for a loan, tax breaks or both – and they said they were going to create twenty jobs but their reporting shows they’ve created only nine (45% of the target) then maybe a formula needs to be created that increases the tax liability based on the underperformance. After all, I don’t think any of us wants to pay for an underperforming business to operate on our nickel. Put another way, if a $1.4 million commercial property is paying under $7,000 per year in property taxes, and that business is at only 45% of their job target, which includes the owners, it sounds like the taxpayers are getting screwed.
Mrs. Bernardo, tonight – for a change – do the right thing: when the Resolution No. 157 pops up, recuse yourself.
Resolution No. 157 June 19, 2012
Requesting That The Ulster County Industrial Development
Agency (IDA) File An Annual Report Card To Improve
Transparency, Accountability And Ensure the Public Trust
Referred to: The Economic Development and Tourism Committee (Chairman
Maloney and Legislators Maio, Roberts, Loughran and Wishnick)
Legislators David B. Donaldson and Peter Loughran offer the following:
WHEREAS, the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is a public benefit corporation formed for the benefit of Ulster County and governed by Article 18-A of the New York State General Municipal Law, and
WHEREAS, the IDA is a tool utilized for economic development purposes throughout the County, and
WHEREAS, the Office of the New York State Comptroller has issued a report examining the record of New York’s Industrial Development Agencies and questioning their effectiveness, and
WHEREAS, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli stated that “…residents, particularly those in high cost regions such as Long Island and the mid-Hudson Valley, have every right to question whether the additional tax breaks are producing promised economic benefits,” and
WHEREAS, it is paramount to the operation of the Ulster County IDA that it maintain transparency to allow taxpayers to truly evaluate its effectiveness and provide assurances that it’s generating the promised economic benefits, and
WHEREAS, if the IDA submitted reports detailing its goals and achievements, its transparency would thereby be increased and provide assurance to the taxpayers of Ulster County that the IDA was effective in its mission, and
WHEREAS, an annual report card and five year summary and comparison reports would allow County officials to more effectively evaluate the IDA and create a vastly improved level of accountability of the IDA to the public, and
WHEREAS, legislation requiring mandatory reporting of similar information by IDA’s to various New York State offices and agencies has been proposed in the State Legislature by the State Comptroller, and
WHEREAS, the Ulster County Legislature seeks to take a leadership role in ensuring that the public has confidence in the operation of the Ulster County IDA, and that the annual reporting recommended by the State Comptroller’s proposal should be implemented by the Ulster County IDA on a voluntary basis, even absent
the passage of State legislation mandating same, now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency is hereby requested to file an annual Report Card and Five Year Summary and Comparison Reports, as detailed in attachment A, with the Ulster County Legislature, County Executive and County Comptroller,
and move its adoption.
ADOPTED BY THE FOLLOWING VOTE:
Passed Committee: Economic Development and Tourism on ___________________.
– Jon Dogar-Marinesco