STAFF CONTACT :
The Business Council opposes this legislation that would severely restrict the ability of industrial development agencies to promote economic development projects in New York State, and impose new procedural requirements and operational costs on businesses receiving IDA support.
The Business Council represents numerous private sector employers that have made millions of dollars of capital investments in New York with IDA financing and tax incentives. We believe this legislation would impair the ability of IDAs to serve their crucial economic development role, and adversely impact the state's overall economic development efforts.
For example, this legislation will add to the cost of economic development projects, and erode the state's economic competitiveness by mandating that IDA-financed projects pay "prevailing wages" for construction projects, and pay all employees no less than the median hourly wage for all occupations in the MSA closest to the project.
Further, it mandates suspension of, and require repayment of, benefits for recipients that have a "substantial" violation of environmental, workers comp or tax law -- defining "substantial" as a violation resulting in a civil penalty of more than $100! This provision would impose severe additional penalties on businesses for relatively minor violations -- penalties that could impair the financial viability of the project.
Another provision of concern is the new requirement that IDA boards include representatives of labor and environmental organizations, while deleting the requirement that such boards have a business representative. It is unclear to us why implementation of economic development policy should exclude private sector participation.
Overall, The Business Council believes this legislation will make IDA support a far less attractive option for potential in-state investments. As such, we believe this proposal runs counter to the state's economic development objectives, particularly in Upstate New York.
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes adoption of A.8703.