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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.

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.

What’s Wrong with the City’s Plan to Redevelop Coney Island?

In 2008, the City of New York proposed to rezone 47 acres in Coney Island and set the stage for a massive redevelopment project. Although the City’s plan promised thousands of new jobs and housing units would arrive in Coney Island, residents feared they had more to lose than to gain from the proposed revitalization. The Coney Island for All coalition developed a policy platform and pushed for the plan to include guarantees for good jobs, increased affordable housing, a stronger amusement area, and the creation of much needed public amenities.

Not Just Any Job: Upstate Needs Good Jobs

New York needs the kind of economic development that will allow workers to move up the career ladder and into the middle class, guarantee healthcare and other benefits for low-wage workers and their families, attract and keep college-educated workers in Upstate communities to create a diversified workforce, and to ensure that workers remain Upstate for the long-term.