Hevesi Weighs in on Subsidy Reform Debate
An audit released yesterday by the office of the state comptroller found that 2/3 of Industrial Development Agencies across the state did not meet job creation goals. While this news is not a shocker (NY Jobs with Justice issued a report last week showing that 63% of IDAs give subsidies to companies that cut jobs once they receive tax breaks) it does add a new dimension to the growing calls for subsidy accountability in the state.
Hevesi's report was accompanied by draft legislation that reinforces the kinds of reform measures being pushed by the NY Initiative for Development Accountability. The Comptroller is calling for:
1. Annual "report cards" from each of the State's 115 IDAs in a standard format, with detailed information on job creation, tax breaks to companies and actual Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) made by projects.
2. Standardized IDA project applications.
3. Objective criteria for review of IDA projects.
4. A uniform project agreement that requires projects to provide job data to IDAs or lose benefits.
5. Provisions to recapture, or "clawback," benefits if projects do not meet job creation goals or other terms of their agreements with IDAs.
6. Increasing financial caps on IDA projects for "civic facilities" such as dormitories for educational facilities, hospitals and senior citizen housing.
While these are critical elements toward insuring that communities get a real return on their investment, the ultimate point of evaluation for working-class communities is what kinds of jobs resulted from the investment. It's simply not enough to say that with an investment of public capital, jobs will be created. For poor and working-class communities the quality of those jobs will mean the difference between being able to afford to live in your community and being gentrified out, and out, and out.
We need clear, consistent measures of accountability but we also need higher standards of expectation for what kinds of jobs businesses produce. Those opposed to quality jobs and better standards have begun to rear their heads in recent days. Some openly suggested that if we are competing with the global south our only chance is to decrease wages. It's shocking that those who set and implement economic policy in this state would openly admit to trying to reduce wage levels here to those of third world counties. Certainly we know that that is the strategy, but I didn't actually think that they talked to the press about it. So it's an open fight now. We want living wages, they want jobs that pay sixty-four cents an hour. What will Bruno and Silver say?
Adrianne Shropshire: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 10:14 AM, May 17, 2006 in Cities | Community Development | Economic Opportunity | Economy | Government Accountability | Labor | Middle-class squeeze | New York | Progressive Agenda | Wal-Mart | public services
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