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Report: Nassau, Suffolk IDAs get high marks for transparency

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's website provides

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's website provides information about IDA tax incentives offered to businesses. Credit: AP / Mike Groll

Two industrial development agencies on Long Island are among the nation’s most transparent government bodies that award tax breaks to businesses, due to reporting requirements from New York State, according to a study released yesterday.

The Nassau County IDA and the Suffolk IDA tied for No. 3 in terms of information available on the internet about companies receiving property tax breaks, the amount of the breaks and the jobs tied to those breaks, said Good Jobs First, a watchdog group based in Washington.

One economic development program in New York City and another in Austin, Texas, held the top two spots.

The local IDAs each placed fifth in available data about sales-tax exemptions on the purchase of construction materials, equipment and other supplies for expansion projects.

In each case, the data are available on the website of the state comptroller.

Good Jobs First, which has been critical of tax breaks for businesses, looked at economic development programs in the 50 largest cities and counties. The examination was limited to tax incentives awarded by local governments, and whether they were disclosed on the internet.

The group found that more than half of the programs studied do not disclose the names of companies receiving property tax abatements and other incentives, including initiatives in Boston, Charlotte, Miami, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

“Counties in New York State rank high due to the state’s strong level of disclosure of local data,” said the report’s author, Good Jobs First analyst Kasia Tarczynska.

The state comptroller and state Authorities Budget Office each require IDAs to file annual reports of their activities.

The data then can be downloaded from the comptroller’s website, at, revealing the names and addresses of businesses receiving tax breaks, the jobs tied to the aid and other information. Users should click on “other local government data” and then select industrial development agencies.

Nassau IDA executive director Joseph J. Kearney said the ranking was a result of the agency board’s commitment over eight years “to provide full transparency in all of our transactions.”

Suffolk IDA executive director Anthony J. Catapano said the agency “strives for transparency . . . [and] credit should also be given to New York State for its leadership in this area.”

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