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By James T. Madore

June 21, 2011

Unions, liberal groups and religious leaders stepped up a campaign Tuesday to have state officials hold businesses accountable for creating jobs in return for tax breaks and other incentives.

In a Central Islip industrial park members of Long Island Jobs With Justice called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to release more details about regional economic development councils. First proposed during last year's gubernatorial campaign, the councils are supposed to root state development decisions in the community and promote competition between regions for state money.

Cuomo is expected to unveil the councils' makeup and powers once the State Legislature wraps up its regular session, which was supposed to end on Monday.

Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy, who will supervise the 10 councils, told Newsday last month they would begin operating this summer. Long Island will have its own council. "This is about localities telling us what they need, what their priorities are," he said.

Tuesday in Central Islip, Jobs With Justice director Charlene Obernauer said Cuomo shouldn't delay in releasing more information about the councils and how they will spur job growth.

"Where is the missing jobs plan from Albany?" she said, pointing to the signs bearing an image of a magnifying glass held by 14 protesters. "We want to know the details now. . . . We want performance standards and accountability from these companies receiving taxpayer dollars."

A Cuomo spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Central Islip protest was among five held across the state. They followed last week's release of a 23-page report in Albany and a May letter to Cuomo and state lawmakers signed by more than 80 people, including seven local groups.

"State and local governments give $8.2 billion in tax giveaways to businesses every year, and they don't demand accountability, they don't demand that workers are paid decent wages," said David Sprintzen of the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

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