The Brookhaven Rail Terminal is the site of a planned...

The Brookhaven Rail Terminal is the site of a planned $410 million warehouse development, the biggest project approved for IDA tax breaks in 2021. Credit: Newsday/James Carbone

Long Island ranks No. 1 among the state’s 10 regions in the number of jobs created by industrial development agencies, according to a new report.

The office of state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found 43,923 people had been added to local payrolls as of Dec. 31, 2021, by expanding businesses, housing developments and other projects that were awarded tax breaks by the Island’s eight IDAs in recent years. That’s one-quarter of the 177,164 jobs created statewide by IDA projects.

The ranking represents a return to the norm for Long Island. The region placed first in job creation in the state for five consecutive years before being displaced by New York City in 2020.

Among local IDAs, projects supported by the Suffolk County IDA hired the most people, 13,660, followed by Nassau County IDA projects with 11,724. The two trailed only the New York City IDA in the number of jobs created across the state.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Projects receiving tax breaks from Long Island's eight industrial development agencies had created 43,923 jobs as of Dec. 31, 2021, the most in New York State.
  • The projects, as a group, saved $224 million on taxes in 2021, or $77 per Long Island resident, state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found.
  • The largest project to win tax breaks in 2021 is a proposed warehouse complex in Yaphank that was aided by the Brookhaven Town IDA.  

The comptroller calculated the “net jobs gained” at each project by comparing its 2021 employment with that for the year before the project received IDA aid. Data for 2022 will be published next year.

DiNapoli’s annual IDA report card looked at hiring that took place over multiple years because the state's 107 active IDAs confer tax breaks for 10, 15, 20, and in a few instances, 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 Companies failing to keep their employment promises can have their tax breaks rescinded.

“The tax breaks IDAs provide can impact local taxes, so it’s important to ensure these projects are creating or retaining the jobs and economic benefits they are supposed to,” DiNapoli said last week.

On Long Island, the Suffolk IDA’s 142 projects received the least amount of tax incentives per new job, $1,149, while the  Glen Cove IDA’s 14 projects had the highest, $50,000 per job, according to a Newsday analysis of the report card’s data.

Islandwide, the 2021 tax savings received by 855 projects totaled $224 million off their property, sales and mortgage recording taxes. That’s the highest among the state’s 10 regions. It also translates to $5,097 in tax breaks per job gained and $77 per Long Island resident.

“Long Island’s IDAs have all played a role in growing our economy by assisting businesses who then provide the additional job opportunities for residents,” said Anthony J. Catapano, executive director of the Suffolk IDA.

Richard Kessel, Nassau IDA chairman, agreed, adding that his IDA and others have been aiding more housing developments in recent years, many of which include some affordable units.

“Two out of every three projects that come to us are housing projects, which is completely opposite from what it was 10 years ago,” he said, adding that IDAs should also be judged on the number of housing units created, not only the number of jobs created.

In Glen Cove, Ann S. Fangmann, executive director of the city’s IDA, said it “has a higher proportion of residential projects than most other IDAs and these projects produce fewer jobs per dollar of benefit.” Glen Cove IDA projects had created 268 jobs as of the end of 2021.

She said the Garvies Point and Village Square housing projects in the city’s downtown “will spur spinoff economic development that does not show up in the state-generated statistics but is nonetheless part of the IDA’s mission.”

The report card consists of data from all active IDA projects, whether they’ve been receiving tax savings for many years or just one year.

Long Island ranked No. 2 behind the Rochester/Finger Lakes region in the number of new projects approved for IDA tax incentives in 2021.

Islandwide, 69 projects with a total value of nearly $2.8 billion were awarded aid packages. More than 20 of the projects are in Brookhaven town, and as a group, are expected to create about 6,500 jobs, according to Lisa M.G. Mulligan, Brookhaven IDA CEO.

The largest project is a $410 million warehouse development at the Brookhaven Rail Terminal on Sills Road in Yaphank. NorthPoint Development of Kansas City and Winters Bros. Waste Systems in West Babylon are proposing to build 2.5 million square feet over four buildings. Nearly 1,100 people are expected to work in the warehouses once construction is completed, the report states. 

The project received 15 years of tax breaks, totaling $73.5 million, from the Brookhaven IDA in December 2021, according to IDA records.

THE COST OF JOB CREATION

IDA tax breaks given per job created as of Dec. 31, 2021

Glen Cove IDA: $50,000 

Hempstead Town IDA: $23,106 

Islip Town IDA: $9,979

Nassau County IDA: $6,508 

Brookhaven Town IDA: $4,061

Riverhead Town IDA: $3,250

Babylon Town IDA: $2,427

Suffolk County IDA: $1,149

SOURCE: 2023 Report on IDAs by the NYS Comptroller's office

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