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Lawmakers reject Cuomo push for IDA oversight

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks at Farmingdale State

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks at Farmingdale State College in Farmingdale Feb. 5, 2015. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposal for more state oversight of IDAs wasn't included in the 2015-16 state budget adopted at 3 a.m. Wednesday in Albany.

The state Economic Development Council, which represents industrial development agencies, said the State Legislature rejected Cuomo's plan.

The governor wanted Empire State Development, the state's primary business-aid agency, to approve IDA deals involving the state's 4-percent sales tax or the mortgage recording tax. He also proposed having the state Department of Taxation and Finance verify that each subcontractor or vendor on an IDA project did not owe the state more than $500 in back taxes.

IDAs, including eight on Long Island, grant breaks on the property tax, sales tax and mortgage recording tax to qualified projects. The incentives are given to attract businesses or keep them here. In return, they commit to create or preserve jobs.

"There was an enormous grassroots response from local officials who told state legislators that this was not a good idea and should be rejected," said Brian McMahon, the council's executive director.

In 2013, Cuomo was successful in getting lawmakers to reinstate a prohibition on IDAs giving tax breaks to retailers and require IDAs to return to Albany a portion of sales taxes recouped from businesses that fail to keep promises to create jobs.

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