By Casey J. Bortnick
February 21, 2012
Offering tax breaks and incentives to draw a company in is a common practice by county industrial development agencies all across the state. These deals...are directly connected to jobs growth, but are county taxpayers really getting a good return on their investment? A Western New York community group says no, and it's using the consolidation of a company in Buffalo and Rochester to make its point.
"Are we getting our monies worth?" asked Allison Duwe of the Coalition for Economic Justice. “That answer is no."...
"Last month in Erie County, 41 warehouse workers lost their jobs,” Duwe said.
In October, VWR Education announced it was closing its science kit and boreal laboratories in Tonawanda and consolidating its operations in Henrietta at Ward's Natural Science.
"We've shifted jobs at taxpayer expense,” said Duwe.
In 2008, the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency approved a tax incentive package for Ward's $2.4 million expansion at the Henrietta site. In light of the closing in Tonawanda, it's a deal some say COMIDA should rescind before it's too late...
Some say companies that take breaks have an obligation to do better, whether they meet their contractual obligations or not.
"IDA's aren't creating jobs anymore. They're creating deals,” said Duwe.
VWR says the tax exemptions the company received had nothing to do with its decision to consolidate warehouses.
The Coalition for Economic Justice says it will continue to pressure on officials in Monroe County to not only rescind its agreement with Ward’s, but to use clawback provision to get back lost tax revenue.
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