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About Industrial Development Agencies

Our government spends billions of dollars each year on lavish corporate subsidies, but these investments too often fail to create the good jobs New Yorkers need and leave local communities without much needed revenue. It's time we get our money's worth from economic development programs.New York created Industrial Development Agencies, or IDAs, in 1969 to serve as engines of economic growth for our communities and to advance the “job opportunities, health, general prosperity and economic welfare of the people of the state of New York.”

Unfortunately, IDAs are not living up to their promises. Each year, IDAs provide hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to private businesses who in turn commit to create or retain jobs. However, much of this money goes to companies that create poverty-wage jobs, no jobs at all, or some that actually cut jobs. The patchwork of 116 IDAs throughout the state often pits community against community, resulting in job shifting instead of new job creation.

A Victory for Reform

The far-reaching 2009 Public Authorities Reform Act (PARA) was enacted in March, 2010 to establish sweeping accountability and transparency requirements in over 700 state public authorities and local Industrial Development Agencies. PARA was necessary in part because New York’s 50 largest public authorities have issued and are currently responsible for at least $161 billion of debt financed by taxpayers—a sum greater than the state’s entire annual budget.

Battered by the Storm: How the Safety Net Is Failing Americans and How to Fix It

This report, co-authored by Sarita Gupta of National Jobs with Justice and released by the Institute for Policy Studies, concludes that the economic crisis is still on the rise for millions of Americans, while at the same time the social safety net is failing to support many of them. It offers one of the boldest, most comprehensive plans to combat poverty and unemployment — beginning now.

How We Can Reform IDAs

Achieving meaningful economic development in New York means reforming New York’s 116 IDAs, which are the drivers of economic development in every part of the state. We need a better solution for economic development in New York. Statewide IDA reform-- rooted in business standards, accountability measures, and transparency reforms—can lead the way.