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Report: LI’s IDAs created 47,000 jobs, the most in NYS

Long Island’s industrial development agencies have helped to create more jobs than IDAs in any of the state’s other nine regions — for the fifth year in a row, according to a new report.

The office of state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found 47,012 people had been hired as of Dec. 31, 2019, by businesses, housing developments and other projects that were awarded tax breaks by Long Island’s eight IDAs. That number represents about 24% of the 199,982 jobs created statewide by IDA projects.

After the Island, IDAs in New York City and the Hudson Valley created the most jobs, 40,482 and 31,722, respectively.

Locally, Suffolk County IDA projects hired the most people, 14,394, followed by Nassau County IDA projects with 12,822. The two trailed only the New York City IDA in terms of job creation.

The comptroller calculated the “net jobs gained” at each project by comparing employment for 2019 with that for the year before the project got IDA help.

Suffolk IDA executive director Anthony J. Catapano said, “The region’s eight IDAs have identified projects for assistance that have a high value for our local economy, where creating capital investment and employment opportunities for residents…is extremely important.”

DiNapoli’s annual IDA report card looked at hiring that took place over multiple years because IDAs confer tax breaks for 10, 15, 20, and in a few cases, 40 years. The duration of the aid depends on the project’s size and the number of jobs to be created and retained. Companies failing to keep employment promises can have their tax breaks rescinded.

DiNapoli urged taxpayers to use the report card “to assess whether the benefits these projects bring to their communities are worth the cost of the incentives their local IDAs are providing.”

Locally, the Suffolk IDA’s 140 projects had the lowest tax incentives per new job, $921, while the Glen Cove IDA’s 10 projects had the highest, $34,345, according to the report. This pattern has changed for the past several years.

Islandwide, the tax savings received by 853 projects on their property, sales and mortgage recording taxes equal $4,046 per job gained.

Ann Fangmann, executive director of the Glen Cove IDA, said it “has a higher proportion of residential projects than most other IDAs and these projects produce fewer jobs per dollar of [tax] benefit.” Glen Cove IDA projects had created 235 jobs as of the end of 2019.

She said the Garvies Point and Village Square housing projects “will spur spinoff economic development that does not show up in the state-generated statistics.”

Garvies Point, begun in 2017, is valued at $1 billion, the most of any active IDA project on Long Island, the comptroller’s report shows.

The Nassau and Suffolk IDAs provided $70 million and $13 million in tax savings in 2019 to their respective projects as a group.

The large disparity between the IDAs is due in part to the Neptune electrical cable project that accounts for an outsized amount of Nassau’s tax breaks.

“The Neptune cable project received a huge tax package, otherwise it wouldn’t have been built,” said Nassau IDA chairman Richard Kessel, who oversaw construction of the cable between New Cassel and New Jersey in 2007 when he led the Long Island Power Authority. “The cable project skews our numbers because of its size and that so few jobs were created.”

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