Members of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council meet at Farmingdale...

Members of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council meet at Farmingdale State College's Campus Center on March 8 in Farmingdale. Credit: Corey Sipkin

The state’s annual competition for business aid has 30% fewer dollars to distribute this year because fewer agencies and programs are participating, records show.

The Regional Economic Development Councils’ contest, launched in 2011, has up to $447 million to award in its 14th round compared with up to $636 million last year.

Eight state agencies will distribute grants and state tax credits in the 2024 competition, down from 10 in 2023, based on the REDC Guidebooks.

As recently as 2021, more than $760 million was available per year in a process established by then-Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to involve councils of local nongovernmental leaders in determining which applicants received state funds.

Asked by Newsday for the reasons why state agencies have bowed out of this year's REDC contest, Empire State Development spokeswoman Kristin Devoe said, “Program offerings have varied from year to year. Other programs that previously ran through the REDCs continue outside of the REDC process for reasons of administrability,” 

Devoe said the smaller 2024 contest doesn’t mean the total funding from Albany will be less than in 2023. “The state’s not eliminating or cutting funding. We’ve just learned things about how to run [the programs] better,” she said.

As in past years, ESD, the state’s primary business-aid agency, is distributing the most via the competition: up to $247 million, including up to $100 million in grants for building projects and up to $75 million in state tax credits.

ESD also has two new grant programs: $10 million for small factories with 100 or fewer employees and $40 million for “pro-housing communities” that endorse Gov. Kathy Hochul’s drive for additional apartments, townhouses and other types of housing across the state.

The latter program is part of up to $650 million — some to be distributed via the REDCs and some independently — reserved for municipalities that have been certified as “pro-housing” by the Department of Homes and Community Renewal. This includes $100 million in grants from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which gives $10 million each to 10 communities statewide per year.

On Long Island, 14 municipalities have applied for the pro-housing certification so far but only Mineola has completed the process, state housing commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas told a meeting of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council on Wednesday.

She said as along as a municipality had submitted all the required paperwork for the certification by July 31 then a project in that municipality would be eligible for the state funding set aside for certification holders. The paperwork consists of a letter of intent, zoning maps and codes, five years of building permits and either proof of significant new housing being built or a resolution committing the municipality to fostering housing growth.

“You can't just submit the letter of intent to be qualified for the [REDC] application process,” Visnauskas said in response to a Newsday question. She said it takes about 90 days to receive the pro-housing certification once all the paperwork has been received by her department. 

ESD and the Long Island council will hold an information session on June 10 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom at Farmingdale State College. To register, visit regionalcouncils.ny.gov/long-island.

The council also is taking questions via email at LIREDC@esd.ny.gov.

The Long Island council, like the nine others across the state, is made up of business executives, union leaders, nonprofit officials and educators — all appointed by Hochul. Each council reviews the applications for grants and tax credits. An application is scored on a 100-point scale with the council awarding up to 20 points and the state agency with the money, 80 points.

The application deadline for many of the participating programs is July 31 at 4 p.m. More information may be found at regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

On the Island, the number of completed applications has declined in the past six years excluding the 2020 REDC competition, which was scuttled by the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 215 applications in 2018 compared with 157 last year, based on state records.

Fewer applications mean less money for projects in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

More than 50 local entities have won nearly $25 million to date in the 2023 contest, in which some funding awards haven’t yet been publicly announced.

In previous years, the region would secure between $60 million and $102 million per year, based on a data analysis by Newsday.

Still, the co-chairs of the Long Island REDC, Linda Armyn, of Bethpage Federal Credit Union, and John Nader, of Farmingdale State College, urged local businesses, nonprofits and governments to apply.

“This is a chance to obtain critical funding to bring visionary projects to life that will spur job creation, private investment and economic growth in the years ahead,” they said.

The state’s annual competition for business aid has 30% fewer dollars to distribute this year because fewer agencies and programs are participating, records show.

The Regional Economic Development Councils’ contest, launched in 2011, has up to $447 million to award in its 14th round compared with up to $636 million last year.

Eight state agencies will distribute grants and state tax credits in the 2024 competition, down from 10 in 2023, based on the REDC Guidebooks.

As recently as 2021, more than $760 million was available per year in a process established by then-Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to involve councils of local nongovernmental leaders in determining which applicants received state funds.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • The Regional Economic Development Councils’ contest has up to $447 million to award in 2024 compared with up to $636 million last year.
  • Eight state agencies will distribute grants and state tax credits in the 2024 competition, down from 10 in 2023, based on the REDC Guidebooks.
  • On Long Island, there were 215 applications in 2018 compared with 157 last year, state records show.

Asked by Newsday for the reasons why state agencies have bowed out of this year's REDC contest, Empire State Development spokeswoman Kristin Devoe said, “Program offerings have varied from year to year. Other programs that previously ran through the REDCs continue outside of the REDC process for reasons of administrability,” 

Devoe said the smaller 2024 contest doesn’t mean the total funding from Albany will be less than in 2023. “The state’s not eliminating or cutting funding. We’ve just learned things about how to run [the programs] better,” she said.

As in past years, ESD, the state’s primary business-aid agency, is distributing the most via the competition: up to $247 million, including up to $100 million in grants for building projects and up to $75 million in state tax credits.

New grant programs

ESD also has two new grant programs: $10 million for small factories with 100 or fewer employees and $40 million for “pro-housing communities” that endorse Gov. Kathy Hochul’s drive for additional apartments, townhouses and other types of housing across the state.

The latter program is part of up to $650 million — some to be distributed via the REDCs and some independently — reserved for municipalities that have been certified as “pro-housing” by the Department of Homes and Community Renewal. This includes $100 million in grants from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which gives $10 million each to 10 communities statewide per year.

On Long Island, 14 municipalities have applied for the pro-housing certification so far but only Mineola has completed the process, state housing commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas told a meeting of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council on Wednesday.

She said as along as a municipality had submitted all the required paperwork for the certification by July 31 then a project in that municipality would be eligible for the state funding set aside for certification holders. The paperwork consists of a letter of intent, zoning maps and codes, five years of building permits and either proof of significant new housing being built or a resolution committing the municipality to fostering housing growth.

“You can't just submit the letter of intent to be qualified for the [REDC] application process,” Visnauskas said in response to a Newsday question. She said it takes about 90 days to receive the pro-housing certification once all the paperwork has been received by her department. 

ESD and the Long Island council will hold an information session on June 10 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom at Farmingdale State College. To register, visit regionalcouncils.ny.gov/long-island.

The council also is taking questions via email at LIREDC@esd.ny.gov.

The Long Island council, like the nine others across the state, is made up of business executives, union leaders, nonprofit officials and educators — all appointed by Hochul. Each council reviews the applications for grants and tax credits. An application is scored on a 100-point scale with the council awarding up to 20 points and the state agency with the money, 80 points.

The application deadline for many of the participating programs is July 31 at 4 p.m. More information may be found at regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

On the Island, the number of completed applications has declined in the past six years excluding the 2020 REDC competition, which was scuttled by the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 215 applications in 2018 compared with 157 last year, based on state records.

Fewer applications mean less money for projects in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

More than 50 local entities have won nearly $25 million to date in the 2023 contest, in which some funding awards haven’t yet been publicly announced.

In previous years, the region would secure between $60 million and $102 million per year, based on a data analysis by Newsday.

Still, the co-chairs of the Long Island REDC, Linda Armyn, of Bethpage Federal Credit Union, and John Nader, of Farmingdale State College, urged local businesses, nonprofits and governments to apply.

“This is a chance to obtain critical funding to bring visionary projects to life that will spur job creation, private investment and economic growth in the years ahead,” they said.

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