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Seeking incentives to keep businesses on LI

Vince Palazzolo, chief financial officer of CPI Aerostructures

Vince Palazzolo, chief financial officer of CPI Aerostructures Inc., speaks during a panel discussion about how business aid programs from New York State and local governments can help retain and attract companies to Long Island. (Oct. 1, 2013) Credit: Daniel Brennan

Almost every week executives of CPI Aerostructures Inc. receive an entreaty to leave Long Island for another state.

Some of the sales pitches are "very aggressive," said Vince Palazzolo, chief financial officer at the Edgewood-based defense contractor. "I probably get, on average, a call a week from different states," such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and the Carolinas.

He recalled a Georgia governor offering tickets to the Masters Golf Tournment and dinner at the governor's mansion if CPI officials would listen to a presentation on the benefits of relocating.

Palazzolo's comments Tuesday night were part of a panel discussion about how tax breaks and other incentives from New York State and local governments can help keep companies on the Island and attract new ones.

The event was staged by the New York chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth, a group of lawyers, bankers, investors and accountants who work with medium-sized businesses.

Palazzolo told about 100 people, gathered at the Ferrari-Maserati auto dealership in Plainview, that CPI stayed here because of a skilled workforce and government help, among other reasons. The public company received $900,000 in state tax credits in 2011 for a plant that's nearly triple the size of its old one. It also has applied for low-cost electricity from the state Power Authority.

CPI has added 136 jobs in two years to its workforce of 140 -- surpassing promises made to the state, according to Andrea Lohneiss, regional director for the Empire State Development agency.

Incentives from the state and Islip Town have been crucial to several expansions by vitamin manufacturer NBTY in the past 30 years. Its vice chairman, Harvey Kamil, said government incentives "did a great job in helping us to grow." He serves on a state council charged with devising and implementing a job-creation plan for the Island.

NBTY has more than a dozen facilities in Islip, where 2,600 people work. It saves $1.2 million on electricity each year via a Power Authority program, according to the authority's Tony Savino.

NBTY operations include plants in California, Florida, Texas and China.

Kamil lauded local development officials for their coordinated response: "You have a project, you call one person, they call everyone else. You don't have to know anyone" to find out how to apply for aid.

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