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Does New York need to change how IDA’s hand out tax breaks?

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  • Staff Report 

Could there be a major shakeup to how economic development happens in New York?

On Wednesday, state Sen. James Skoufis announced an investigation into how industrial development agencies (IDAs) grant tax breaks to development projects.

The investigation will examine several IDAs, but will be focused on the $2.7 million, 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement (PILOT) for Milmar Foods, a frozen-food business in Goshen, that was approved by the Orange County IDA last year.

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The package of financial incentives included about $2.25 million in property tax breaks and about $500,000 in sales and mortgage tax exemptions.

The investigation will query IDAs across the state to see how often these agencies grant PILOTs to developers who claim they don’t need them. The committee was still finalizing a list on Wednesday of agencies it plans to survey, but Skoufis told reporters the examination will include IDAs in the Syracuse and Buffalo areas, one on Long Island and one further upstate. He estimated it would take a couple of months to complete.