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Karp wants bigger incentive to come to LI

A Queens-based maker of metal doors and bathroom stalls is seeking more tax breaks to stay in New York State.

Karp Associates Inc. and its sister company, Flush Metal Partitions, have asked the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency to give them a more generous property-tax abatement than was offered in March. They said New Jersey's offer was better.

The companies must move to make way for a replacement for the Kosciuszko Bridge. The state will pay $14 million for the property.

Karp bought a building at 260 Spagnoli Rd. in Melville, where it hopes to move its 108 workers. They earn, on average, $36,481 per year, records show.

Karp also is being courted by New Jersey, and Flush Metal has roots in North Carolina.

"It is Karp's sincere hope that it can secure additional cooperation from the IDA to allow it to remain in New York," George Kosser, vice president, wrote in a letter Wednesday. He asked that property taxes on the Melville building be frozen for five years and then gradually increased over the next 10 years.

IDA chairman Jim Morgo said the board of directors was "very receptive" to Karp's request but needed time.

In March the IDA offered Karp a sales-tax exemption on $7 million in equipment purchases and a 10-year property-tax break on the building's increased value. The latest request would provide a longer break on the building's full value.

Karp has blasted the Empire State Development Corp. for offering a $100,000 grant and $345,000 in tax credits. Kosser called the offer "modest" compared with "significant incentive packages" from New Jersey.

Counting state and county resources, Karp is already in line for more than $14.4 million in assistance toward its $17.5-million project, and it could receive other aid. "We are optimistic about the ongoing talks," Empire State spokesman Austin Shafran said Friday.

Still, critics of tax breaks for businesses were concerned. Charlene Obernauer, director of the union-backed Jobs With Justice campaign, said, "These aren't new jobs, and they don't pay all that well."

Asked about the interest in Karp, Suffolk IDA executive director Bruce Ferguson said, "These are manufacturing jobs, and you want to keep them."

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