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Long Island's IDAs lead the state in job creation, report finds

Employees take COVID-19 precautions as they work at

Employees take COVID-19 precautions as they work at Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. in Edgewood. The company had created more than 1,200 jobs by 2018 in return for tax breaks from the Suffolk IDA for a modernization project.  Credit: Courtesy of Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc.

Tax breaks from Long Island’s industrial development agencies helped to create more jobs as of 2018 than IDAs in any of the state’s other nine regions – for the fourth year in a row, according to a report released Monday.

In its annual review of IDAs, the office of state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found 45,873 people had been hired locally as of Dec. 31, 2018 by businesses, housing developments and other projects backed by the Island’s eight IDAs. That represents nearly 26% of the 179,057 jobs created statewide by IDA projects.

After the Island, IDAs in the Hudson Valley and New York City created the most jobs, 31,126 and 29,598, respectively

Locally, Suffolk IDA projects had the lowest tax incentives per job, $901, while the Glen Cove IDA had the highest, $43,646, a Newsday analysis of the numbers shows.

Glen Cove IDA executive director Ann Fangmann said Tuesday the agency "has a higher proportion of residential projects than most other IDAs and these projects produce fewer jobs per dollar of benefit." She said the Garvies Point and Village Square housing projects "will spur spin-off economic development that does not show up in the state-generated statistics, but is nonetheless part of the IDA's mission."

DiNapoli's report looked at hiring that took place over multiple years because IDAs award tax breaks for 10, 15, 20, and in a few cases, 40 years, depending on the project’s size and the number of jobs to be created and retained in return for the aid. Companies failing to keep employment promises can have their tax breaks clawed back.

While Long Island again outperformed the state’s other regions in 2018, the number of new jobs was down from 46,859 in 2017. The same was true statewide, with total net jobs gains from active IDA projects falling from 2017’s 198,522.

“Projects that come from industrial development agencies continue to produce jobs across the state, but in the past couple of years the pace has slowed,” DiNapoli said.

He said IDAs should be more selective in awarding tax breaks because the coronavirus pandemic has led to revenue shortfalls for state and local governments. “IDAs may have a critical role in helping businesses and communities get back on their feet, with careful review of the tax breaks they offer and the impact on local government budgets,” he said on Monday.

Long Island’s IDAs awarded tax incentives to 846 projects on their property, sales and mortgage recording taxes during the period reviewed by DiNapoli. The tax breaks are often spread over many years, so the period in which jobs are created varies by project.

He calculated the “net jobs gained” at each project by comparing employment for 2018 with that for the year before the project got IDA help.

On the Island, the largest number of new jobs – 12,881 – were created by 137 projects receiving aid from the Suffolk County IDA. The projects as a group got $11.6 million in tax breaks in 2018, according to the comptroller.

Among the Suffolk IDA projects, a modernization project by Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. in Edgewood had created 1,219 jobs as of Dec. 31, 2018.

The Suffolk IDA ranked No. 2 behind the New York City IDA, which had 29,598 net jobs gained, and just edged out the Nassau County IDA, at No. 3 with 12,779 jobs across 181 projects.

The Nassau projects, as a group, got about $59 million in tax breaks in 2018. That’s the second-highest amount after the New York City IDA, which awarded $124 million in tax incentives to 368 building projects for 2018.

The difference in tax breaks between the Nassau and Suffolk IDAs is due in part to an electrical cable project that accounts for about 30% of Nassau’s breaks.

Suffolk IDA executive director Anthony J. Catapano said, “Long Island's eight IDAs have collectively played a significant role in creating jobs and spurring economic growth for the residents of this region. Each and every day, the IDAs focus on identifying projects that strike the right balance in aiding business retention and expansion while also maximizing employment opportunities for residents."

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