Long Island accounts for nearly 25 percent of the jobs created in recent years by building projects receiving tax breaks from industrial development agencies in the state, according to a report released Friday.
In its annual review of IDAs, the office of state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found 51,632 people had been hired locally as of the end of 2016 by businesses, housing developments and other projects backed by one of the Island’s eight IDAs.
IDAs grant tax reductions to companies and developers in return for promised investment and the retention, and in many cases, expansion of employment. In recent years, IDAs in Nassau and Suffolk counties have come under fire for aiding automobile dealerships, self-storage facilities and housing developments that create few permanent jobs and in some instances pay low salaries.
Local IDAs awarded breaks to 812 projects on their property, sales and mortgage recording taxes during the period reviewed by DiNapoli. The tax incentives are often spread over 10, 15 or 20 years, so the time period in which jobs are created varies by project.
DiNapoli calculated the "net jobs gained" at each project by comparing employment figures for 2016 with those for the year before the project got IDA help.
Long Island had the most IDA-related hiring among the state’s 10 regions, followed by New York City and the Hudson Valley.
"Long Island as a region, while it's smaller than the city, is a very important part of the economic engine of New York State, and I hope a report like this helps to validate how key our region is," DiNapoli said Friday.
Statewide, 208,707 jobs had been created as of the end of 2016 by nearly 3,000 projects receiving IDA aid. Service businesses and manufacturers each accounted for about 22 percent of total hiring.
On the Island, the largest number of new jobs – 15,342 – were created by 138 projects receiving aid from the Suffolk County IDA. The projects, as a group, got $7 million in tax breaks in 2016, according to the comptroller.
The Suffolk IDA ranked No. 2 behind the New York City IDA in terms of net jobs gained. The Nassau County IDA was No. 3 with 14,478 jobs at 173 projects.
Anthony J. Catapano, executive director of the Suffolk IDA, said Friday his agency's performance reflects the success that local businesses are having.
The Nassau projects, as a group, got about $44 million in tax breaks in 2016. That’s the second highest amount after the New York City IDA, which awarded $141 million in tax incentives to 430 building projects for 2016.
Nassau officials attributed the nearly six-fold difference in tax breaks between the Nassau and Suffolk IDAs to an electrical cable project, which accounted for about 30 percent of the breaks Nassau awarded. Even with that project, they said the tax breaks per new job, $3,011, were in line with that of IDAs in Hempstead, Babylon, Brookhaven, Islip and Riverhead towns.
Suffolk IDA projects had the lowest tax incentives per job, $456, while Glen Cove had the highest, $22,000.
IDA REPORT CARD
IDA NAME/ACTIVE PROJECTS IN 2016/JOBS GAINED COMPARED WITH JOBS BEFORE TAX BREAKS WERE GRANTED
Glen Cove IDA/10/141
Hempstead Town IDA/80/5,629
Nassau County IDA/173/14,478
Babylon Town IDA/186/6,758
Brookhaven Town IDA/76/5,401
Islip Town IDA/116/2,899
Riverhead Town IDA/33/984
Suffolk County IDA/138/15,342
TOTAL: 8 IDAs/812 projects/51,632 jobs
SOURCE: NYS Comptroller's report