New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks to members of...

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks to members of the Association for a Better New York in Manhattan on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Long Island's largest business group and seven IDAs are calling on the State Legislature to reject Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's push for more state oversight of tax breaks given to expanding businesses.

Cuomo's proposals would delay approval of incentive packages from industrial development agencies, and potentially lead companies to leave, the Long Island Association and local IDAs said in a letter dated Monday.

The proposals are part of negotiations for the 2015-16 state budget, due April 1.

Cuomo said last month that IDAs across the state need to be "more accountable." Speaking to reporters after an event at Farmingdale State College, he said, "This is taxpayers' money. I want to make sure the taxpayers are getting the best bang for the buck."

There are eight IDAs on Long Island. Each grants 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. Companies that don't keep their promises must give back the incentive money.

Cuomo wants 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. The state Department of Taxation and Finance would have to verify that each subcontractor or vendor on an IDA project doesn't owe the state more than $500 in back taxes.

Cuomo's proposals "would add another layer of bureaucracy, which will cause delays" in IDAs approving incentive packages, the letter states. "This bill . . . would make New York less competitive and result in fewer jobs being created."

The letter was signed by leaders of the LIA, the two county IDAs and IDAs for Babylon, Brookhaven, Islip and Riverhead towns and the City of Glen Cove.

Fred Parola, chief executive of the Hempstead Town IDA, said last night it also opposes Cuomo's plan and will send a separate letter to Albany Friday.

Spokesmen for State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) weren't immediately available to comment. In past years, the legislature has nixed many of Cuomo's IDA proposals.

LIA president Kevin Law said any changes in the state budget "must not in any way hinder [IDAs'] ability to quickly and efficiently spur economic growth."

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