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LI applications for state business aid fall slightly, officials say

Members of the Long Island Regional Economic Development

Members of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council at the 2018 awards ceremony in Albany in December. Photo Credit: Hans Pennink

Applications from Long Island for state business aid fell 3 percent this year compared with 2018, officials said.

Companies, local governments, universities and nonprofit organizations submitted 232 completed Consolidated Funding Applications to the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council by the July 26 deadline, according to Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency.

The council received 239 completed forms last year. The peak number, 295, occurred in 2012 and again in 2013.

Council executive director Cara Longworth said this year’s applications total would have surpassed the 2018 total if those seeking help for worker training programs via the state Department of Labor had been included. Those requests are now directed to a $175 million fund launched by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo earlier this year. 

“There are some great applications,” Longworth told council members on Thursday at a meeting in Old Westbury.

Since 2011, the Long Island council has vied annually with nine others across the state for tax credits and grants. The local council has secured between $60 million and $102 million each year.

Statewide, 2,522 completed applications were submitted this year in the annual Regional Economic Development Councils competition. That’s a 3.7 percent increase from last year when 2,433 forms were completed.

Longworth said the 21 local council members will now review the applications and make recommendations to the state agencies that provide more than $750 million in funding. To determine the winner of the aid, each council can award up to 20 points on a 100-point scale, while the state agency has up to 80 points to assign.

Winners are expected to be announced by Cuomo in the fall.

Council co-vice chairman Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association business group, said Thursday that he was impressed with the applicants’ proposals considering this is the ninth year of the business-aid competition.

Separately, council members voted unanimously for a resolution calling on them to consider how a proposed project would affect all residents of a community, including the poor, minority groups and individuals excluded from new employment opportunities.

“We want to include equity and inclusion in all of our efforts,” said Pat Edwards, a council member and Citigroup community development executive.

Council co-vice chairman Stuart Rabinowitz, Hofstra University president, added, “From Day One, we have been concerned about raising and improving the life of every single Long Islander, not just some."

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