Investigating IDAs

Here in New York, industrial development agencies (IDAs) are one of main job creation mechanisms for local communities.

In 2009, IDAs gave away close to half a billion dollars in tax breaks to companies in the name of economic development.

IDAs are known as "public benefit corporations" - they're supposed to help their local communities, and create jobs.

But in their four decades of existence, they've been accused of everything from failing to comply with state laws, to simply being inefficient.

You can follow the Innovation Trail's investigation into how IDAs spend your tax dollars by subscribing to the RSS feed on the right.


Destiny USA

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says giving the Destiny USA entertainment and shopping center a tax break to build a hotel would be “a mistake,” but the mayor actually has little say over those incentives.

Cameron Group, LLC.

The developer behind a new bookstore and fitness center for Syracuse University will meet its construction deadline and get to keep tax breaks from the city.

Tom Valenti of the Cameron Group says they’ll break ground this week on the facility, which will be located just off of SU’s campus. They had until Friday to do so or lose the 30-year property tax break it won from the city in August 2012.

Rubber Dragon / Some Rights Reserved

Local hiring policies are becoming more commonplace as a way to address regional unemployment and strengthen the tax base. New quotas for local workers were just approved by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.

The new labor policy means that construction companies that receive Niagara County IDA economic development incentives will have to recruit at least 90 percent of their workforce from counties in western New York.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The old New Venture Gear auto parts factory in suburban Syracuse could have a new tenant much quicker than county economic development officials expected.

A newly formed company called American Intermodal Container Manufacturing Inc. wants to use about half of the large factory to make shipping containers.

New Venture Gear concluded a long shutdown of its DeWitt plant in August. It once employed 4,000 people making parts for SUVs.

State Comptroller's Office

The state Comptroller’s office has released its annual report on New York’s 113 Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs), with concerns raised about the effectiveness and transparency of the organizations.