In This Section

Each year, IDAs are required to report on the projects they subsidize. We analyze that data and produce key facts about IDA performance. This year we found that:

IDAs have dramatically increased their spending

  • Total spending by IDAs has increased significantly over the last 5 years.  Since 2003, IDAs have spent $5.4 billion on total tax exemptions to businesses. This year alone, total exemptions increased from $948 million to $1.7 billion, a 79% increase.  This increase is partly due to better reporting by the NYC IDA.
  • IDAs have increased their spending on net tax exemptions by 82% since 2003, from $354 million in 2003 to $645 million in 2008.

Over 80% of IDA spending results in net revenue loss to local government

  • Local governments suffer greatly from IDA give-aways.  Local governments lost $520 million in net tax exemptions in 2008, including $164 million lost revenues to local school boards.  Since 2003, school districts have lost $826 million that could have been used to educate our children.
  • In spite of crippled local government budgets, local tax exemptions continue to increase.  Since 2003, there has been a 125% increase in tax revenue lost to local governments, from $231 million to $520 million today.

$135 million in IDA tax breaks went to companies that either cut jobs or failed to create any new jobs.

  • Job creation declined dramatically between 2007 and 2008.  IDAs created 31,518 fewer jobs in 2008 than in 2007, despite increasing net tax exemptions by $61 million over the same period.
  • With the amount of money wasted on these projects, we could have:
  • Educated over 8,400 students
  • Funded nearly all of the $140.2 million reduction in nursing home support, according to the governor’s most recent executive budget proposal.

IDAs aren’t effectively targeting the industries that help build the middle class

  • Mega projects are on the rise – those projects with a total project amount of $100 million or more – despite a poor track record of job creation.  Of the 105 current mega projects, 40 failed to create jobs or lost jobs: taxpayers spent $48 million in net tax exemptions for these businesses to lose a total of 12,844 jobs.
  • Commercial projects are grossly overrepresented in IDA spending. IDAs spent 83% of their net exemptions on commercial projects, leaving just over $100 million for manufacturing and industrial businesses that build a middle-class.
  • Of the 10 largest IDA projects, all are commercial. Eight of these projects benefitted the Financial, Insurance and Real Estate sector.  Many other commercial sector projects, including retail and services, rarely need the IDA support, and often create poverty-wage jobs.