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Suffolk IDA withdraws Spellman sales-tax break

Spellman High Voltage Electronics factory at 30 Crossways

Spellman High Voltage Electronics factory at 30 Crossways East in Bohemia on March 5, 2014. Credit: Ed Betz

The decision by a Hauppauge-based manufacturer of power supplies to shift work to Mexico has cost it a tax break, officials said.

The Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency recently withdrew the $32,345 sales-tax exemption it awarded Spellman High Voltage Electronics Corp. in 2012. The aid was in support of a proposed expansion, which has been changed.

Spellman disclosed in a state Labor Department filing on Nov. 26 that it would lay off 47 workers in Bohemia and Hauppauge on Feb. 3. The company said the layoffs were the result of "relocation of jobs to Matamoros, Mexico."

IDA executive director Anthony Manetta said last week, "We were caught off guard by it . . . They hadn't used the sales-tax exemption, so we decided to rescind it."

He also said Spellman officials told him they had not moved local jobs to Mexico, maintaining that the layoffs had occurred across the company's operations in Suffolk, Westchester County, Mexico, Europe and Asia "in a leveling off" action.

A Spellman executive did not return telephone messages last week and Wednesday seeking an explanation for the differing reasons given for the layoffs.

In December, David Edwards, human resources vice president at Spellman, said in an interview its plant at 30 Crossways East in Bohemia would close as printed circuit-assembly work was shifted to south of the border. He also said in an interview that the company employs about 1,400 worldwide.

In its application for IDA assistance in 2012, Spellman said its local workforce totaled 344, with workers earning $79,651 per year on average. At the time, company president Loren Skeist said he was looking to fill 15 openings.

IDAs are allowed to revoke tax breaks and other benefits if businesses fail to keep their commitments on jobs and investments. Spellman had pledged to maintain its local payroll and spend $4.3 million on building renovations and new equipment.

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