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Firms aided by Suffolk IDA invested $775.7M over 5 years, report says

Marchon Eyewear Inc. in Melville received IDA aid

Marchon Eyewear Inc. in Melville received IDA aid for its $27.5 million renovation project in 2012. The company pledged to have 583 jobs at the time and reported having 739 in 2016. Credit: VSP Global

Businesses that received tax incentives from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency created or retained more than 12,700 jobs, and invested $775.7 million in local growth and expansion plans in the past five years, according to a report released Monday.

The IDA invested an average of $704 in incentives per job retained or created, while companies invested $49,900 per job, the report conducted by the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning found.

The report, ordered by county legislators in March, analyzed the economic impact of the 86 projects aided by the agency from 2012 through 2016.

The companies are expected to receive about $89.8 million in tax breaks over the span of their IDA agreements.

The economic development department found that the companies spent more than $222 million on purchases of goods and services from 2,500 Long Island companies in 2016.

Several companies — especially those awarded benefits in 2015 and 2016 — still have until 2018 to complete their projects and meet employment pledges.

Only 6 of the 48 projects that received benefits in 2012 through 2014 fell below the 15 percent “acceptable range” of meeting their job pledge numbers, a standard promoted by the New York State Economic Development Council, the report said.

Among the companies that missed their hiring goals by 15 percent or more, at least two faced delays in project completion. Another three experienced “extreme difficulty” in hiring highly skilled tech workers, the report said.

In total, 12,456 jobs were pledged to be retained or created by 2018. As of now, 12,790 jobs have been retained or created.

Tax benefits for companies generally include sales tax breaks on the purchase of new equipment for construction, redevelopment and expansions, mortgage recording tax breaks, and real estate property tax abatements that allow businesses to make payments in lieu of taxes, typically for a period of 10 to 15 years.

The IDA board is appointed by the county legislature. It works independently of the economic development department, which is staffed by county employees.

“I’m certainly very pleased to see the findings of the report,” Legis. DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville), presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature, said Friday. “Not only are they utilizing the incentives in a smart way, they’re very judicious in allocating the incentives in the most cost effective way possible.”

Gregory, who sponsored the resolution seeking a report on the IDA’s effectiveness, said it is “good to know that we’re getting a significant return on our investment.”

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