A Nassau County legislator Wednesday urged shoppers to boycott the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream during the Black Friday weekend because he blames residents’ recent tax increases on the mall’s tax breaks.
Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Elmont) stood across the street from a Green Acres Mall sign and called for Macerich, the California-based owner of the mall, to “be a good neighbor” to Valley Stream residents. About 10 people holding signs stood behind Solages during the brief news conference.
“I on Black Friday realize the power of my dollar and I will not spend my dollar at Green Acres Mall,” Solages said.
The boycott stems from tax incentives granted to the mall by the Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency. In 2014, the IDA approved tax breaks including a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, that politicians and taxpayers say led to hundreds of dollars in school tax increases to residents. The IDA maintains other factors led to the tax hikes, including school district budgeting.
“Hopefully this will show them that we mean business and that they must renegotiate the PILOT agreement that they have with the Town of Hempstead IDA,” Solages said.
In a statement on Wednesday, Macerich touted its positive impact on the community.
“We are proud that the Green Acres project creates 670 union construction jobs and over 800 permanent jobs, increases the sales tax revenue, and has already made a number of critical safety and infrastructure improvements and brought new stores and more visitors than ever before,” said Ken Volk, a senior vice president at Macerich.
Six members of the IDA board resigned last week in the wake of the controversy. The Town of Hempstead replaced them the following day.
Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos subpoenaed the IDA and the town supervisor and clerk as part of an audit into the PILOT agreement. Neither the town nor the IDA handed over documents sought by Maragos and the comptroller has asked the county attorney to enforce the subpoenas in court.
Barbara Stein, 68, a resident of the Mill Brook section of Valley Stream, said the IDA’s public notices did not detail the potential impact on local taxpayers. Stein stood behind Solages during the news conference.
“This is a commission out of control,” Stein said of the agency. “There is no representation for our taxation.”
The IDA’s executive director, Fred Parola, declined to comment.