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By Stephen T. Watson and Matt Glynn

November 11, 2011

An activist group Thursday rallied against tax breaks awarded for the expansion of a car dealership in Amherst, one day after a restaurant/retail project in Lancaster also got tax breaks.

Critics are pointing to these and similar projects as examples of industrial development agencies granting generous tax breaks to enterprises that don’t spur economic growth or create jobs.

Decisions by the Erie County IDA and its town counterparts to grant tax breaks to restaurants, medical offices and retail stores have come under fire.

“It’s not growing the overall economic pie,” said Allison Duwe, executive director of the Coalition for Economic Justice.

The coalition Thursday led a rally outside Northtown Lexus on Sheridan Drive, criticizing $536,000 in tax abatements awarded to the project by the Amherst IDA last year.

Wednesday, the Lancaster IDA voted to grant sales and property tax breaks for a building Benderson Development Co. plans to construct in the Village of Lancaster.

While community leaders are glad to see something happening at a prominent village intersection in a part of Lancaster targeted for redevelopment, not everyone thinks the project merits a tax break.

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