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Dinapoli Finds Problems In Several Area IDA's

ALBANY – State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has issued a report on industrial development agencies around the state and their sister local development corporations and in some cases, found issues with them.

A recent audit of the City of Poughkeepsie IDA found 22 active projects and $381 million total project value in 2021.

The state audit found the board did not properly evaluate, approve and monitor projects that received financial benefits. It also said the board could not verify the self-reported and calculated revenues of two projects upon which PILOTs were based, and IDA officials did not ensure projects were assessed late payment penalties totaling $30,676.

The audit found deficiencies in the Westchester IDA.

Regeneron Building D (project value $480.6 million) is an expansion of a previously reported Regeneron Pharmaceuticals project that was originally approved on November 14, 2006. The new Building D project was approved on August 26, 2021. The Building D project was originally proposed and approved in 2015 but never moved forward. “The new building will primarily house Regeneron’s pre-clinical manufacturing and process development operations.”27 The previous Regeneron project reported $4.3 million in net tax exemptions and 3,843 current full-time equivalent employees in 2021 for a net employment change of 3,778 employees.

The Regeneron expansion project reported 300 estimated jobs to be created, but no tax exemptions, PILOTs, or current full-time equivalent employees in 2021.

The comptroller’s office also found fault with the Sullivan County Funding Corporation. Corporation officials did not award all funds from the program in accordance with established guidelines and did not ensure businesses complied with their agreements.

The Loan Review Committee approved two loans that exceeded the program loan allowances by over $53,000. Officials did not verify businesses’ self-reported job creation or retention numbers and had no procedures for recapture if job creation or retention expectations were not met.

IDAs generally fund their operations by charging fees to the businesses that are receiving their financial assistance, DiNapoli’s report stated. They do not impose taxes themselves. However, the tax exemptions they grant to their projects can reduce the tax base of local governments and school districts. This does not necessarily reduce the revenue received by these local entities, but it may result in increases to taxpayer’s bills. Therefore, it is vital that New Yorkers are aware of these costs along with the benefits realized by these authorities, the report said.

Source: Mid-Hudson News

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