It would almost seem that Nassau County is poised to become the self-storage capital of the world, if not for the fact that self-storage places are always built exactly where residents need them. That’s why it’s so frustrating that the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency keeps doling out tax breaks for self-storage facilities.
The Nassau IDA recently awarded a $418,528 sales-tax exemption and a 15-year property-tax reduction to a new Safeguard Self-Storage location in Valley Stream. The company says it will spend $10 million on the facility. Apparently, the only expense the venture can’t afford to pay is its taxes. In return, Safeguard says it will provide all of two full-time jobs that will pay an average of $45,000 per year.
Tax breaks for such projects are a target of taxpayer watchdogs and economic development experts because they don’t really create economic vitality. Even so, this is the eighth such facility, and the third Safeguard location in the county, to get breaks from the IDA.
IDA executive director Joseph Kearney says this abatement makes sense because the location is a shuttered car dealership and this will “clean up a vacant area.” But businesses are supposed to pay taxes in return for the services they get. Every tax break like this must be made up by the other property owners who haven’t been granted them.
Far from being a blighted, depressed area that cannot attract business or commerce, Nassau County is wealthy, vibrant and desirable. That’s why companies like Safeguard are willing to build there. But because they know they can get a free lunch from the IDA, they always demand it. The tax breaks are unnecessary but welcome icing on the cake, and unwelcome and painful burdens on other taxpayers. — The editorial board