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July 1, 2008

Legislative session ends with mixed bag for IDAs

ALBANY— A broad coalition of business groups, including The Business Council of New York State, defeated labor proposals that would have crippled Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) as an economic development tool. But the legislature refused to re-instate IDAs' ability to make low-cost financing available for not-for-profit projects.

“Labor-backed legislation to mandate that ‘prevailing wages' be paid on IDA projects and at the facilities built with IDA funding would have increased costs on these projects so much that the IDAs' would become useless,” said Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of The Business Council. “That legislation was stopped in this session.”

“Unfortunately, the failure of the legislature to re-instate IDAs' ability to make low cost financing available to not-for-profit groups means that more than $2 billion worth of vital construction projects planned by New York not-for-profits are stalled,” added Adams.

The Business Council worked with a broad coalition to re-instate the not-for-profit funding. Those groups include the New York State Economic Development Council, New York Association of Homes & Services for the Aging, Partnership for New York City, New York State Conference of Mayors, InterAgency Council of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Agencies, New York State Association of Counties, Alliance of Long Island Agencies, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the New York City IDA, Unshackle Upstate and chambers of commerce across the state.

“It is unfortunate that very important projects in local communities all over the state are being held hostage in Albany's horse trading as the not-for-profit authority is not renewed because of the push for the prevailing wage mandate,” said Adams. “The Business Council will continue to work with others to have this authority re-instated.”

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