By Antoinette Bryant
Members of Occupy Buffalo continue to stand in solidarity, this time calling for economic development reform.
Thursday, the group along with community and labor activists took its movement to Sheridan Drive to demand that corporate subsidies deliver good jobs, not giveaways.
Protesters rallied in front of Northtown Lexus in Amherst to draw attention to the Amherst Industrial Development Agency's use of public dollars on projects that they say lacks broader community benefits.
Protestors say in 2009, Northtown Automotive received a subsidy of over $500,000 from the Amherst IDA to move its Lexus dealership half a mile across the street on Sheridan Drive.
Activists say the subsidy increases the tax burden on all Erie County residents and at the end of the day, the community loses out.
"This is just one of the many projects the Amherst Industrial Development Agency has supported over the last couple of years,” said Allison Duwe, executive director of the Coalition for Economic Justice. “We chose this as a location, because we think it's a pretty stark example of how we're providing breaks on taxes - who would otherwise be paying their fair share - that don't need them."
In response, the Amherst IDA released a statement that reads in part:
"Over the next 10 years this property will pay over $625,000 in new property taxes that would not exist. This is additional money that supports the Amherst Central School District, Town of Amherst and Erie County. Redevelopment matters and incentives that encourage the reuse of existing buildings help out the entire community."