Dan Janison has been a reporter at Newsday since 1997.
Wading into a perennial debate topic -- the public value of industrial development agencies -- State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli called for legislation to better track their performance. He said in issuing an annual IDA review that a "limited correlation" exists between IDAs granting more tax exemptions and creating more jobs.
"Obviously there are IDAs out there bringing in business and helping to drive economic growth, but sometimes that's not the case," said DiNapoli spokesman Brian Butry. "Taxpayers need to be reassured that if something goes off the tax rolls and they foot the bill, they'll benefit from that."
On Long Island for 2010, DiNapoli reported this month, a property tax payer with an average-priced home "would have paid $56 to support the net exemptions provided by the region's eight IDAs, which supported 634 projects." That's among the lowest costs in the state, with the corresponding homeowner cost totaling $141 in the Capital District, for example.
Last week, it was revealed that consultant Anthony Manetta, who's been involved in the Independence Party, and whose political clients have included Suffolk Sheriff Vincent DeMarco and 2010 state comptroller candidate Harry Wilson, was in line to become the countywide Suffolk IDA's new executive director.
"I firmly believe IDAs are a good conduit and great resource for the business community to attract new business and to help retain jobs as well," Manetta said Friday.
TERM CONCERNS: Three Suffolk officials -- District Attorney Thomas Spota, County Clerk Judith Pascale and Sheriff DeMarco -- sued in February seeking to be declared exempt from the county's term-limits law because they hold state-mandated jobs. The case was initially assigned to state Supreme Court Justice Hector Lasalle, but he recused himself, having worked with Spota. Acting Justice Ralph Gazzillo is expected to be assigned. Attorney Bruce Plesser, meanwhile, filed papers on behalf of Huntington resident Peter Nichols, a term-limit supporter, seeking to intervene against the plaintiffs. In an affidavit, Nichols states: "I believe the right . . . to impose term limits belongs to the voter, and if the office holders want to change the term limits they should go back to the voters and ask them to do so." Also, Legis. Ricardo Montano (D-Brentwood), chairman of the legislature's ways and means committee, said Friday he asked attorney Stuart Besen, who's representing the county, to appear in executive session May 30 to report on the case's status.