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OpinionEditorial

Nassau pays dearly to create two whole jobs

Valley Stream Mazda, which is expanding and has

Valley Stream Mazda, which is expanding and has received tax breaks from the Nassau County IDA, is shown on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Valley Stream. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency, like most of Long Island’s eight IDAs, has given out a lot of suspect tax breaks, but few seem as utterly silly as the ones it grants to self-storage facilities.

Two weeks ago, Safeguard Self-Storage in East Rockaway was granted a sales-tax exemption of up to $414,000 and 15 years of property tax breaks. The business says it will create jobs — two of them.

Self-storage businesses probably provide a needed service on Long Island. If so, that’s something the market can determine by willingly paying the owners of self-storage businesses enough money to pay all their bills — including their fair and full share of taxes owed.

In theory, the IDAs give tax breaks to create jobs and keep them here.

But you can’t relocate self-storage spaces from East Rockaway to South Carolina or southern China. There’s no justification for these tax breaks. The taxes the businesses would have paid are borne by other property owners. And the Nassau IDA has given breaks to six storage facilities in recent years.

The endless breaks to car dealerships based on the likely empty threats that they’ll leave the Island are bad. The ones granted to self-storage facilities are worse. The Nassau IDA is a political organization whose leaders have a lot of friends, and it makes its money from the fees of businesses applying for tax breaks. More people apply if they think they’ll be approved. The IDA is doing a terrible job, and the taxpayers are being left with the bill. There’s a public hearing Feb. 17 in Oyster Bay on tax breaks for another self-storage location in Plainview.

If local residents don’t want to get saddled with the taxes these companies don’t pay, they should let the county IDA know.

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