The Business Council supports this legislation that would re-establish, until December 31, 2010, the ability of local industrial development authorities to finance certain “civic facilities,” such as senior housing, hospitals, higher education facilities and others.
This authorization, which had been subject to multiple one-year extenders, was allowed to expire in February 2008. As result, up to $2 billion in capital projects that otherwise could be facilitated through IDA assistance have been held up, depriving the state from new capital investments, jobs and economic stimulus.
The Business Council's membership includes a number of entities that have benefited from IDA financing, including colleges and universities; hospitals, long-term care facilities and other health care related entities. These entities support economic growth through research and development initiatives, development and maintenance of facilities and other measures.
IDAs have clearly been an important financing vehicle for many individual not-for-profit projects in New York State - projects that have improved the quality of life of New York State communities and improved the State's ability to retain and attract private sector employers and skilled employees.
Since 1987, more than 2,000 not-for-profit organizations have received low-cost financing through Industrial Development Agencies. In many instances, IDAs offer the best, and sometimes only, low-cost financing option for not-for-profit organizations. IDAs offer timely financing decisions, involve local community review of proposed projects, often result in the reinvestment of financing fees in other community projects, and are not subject to the eligibility restrictions imposed by the Dormitory Authority.
Our support for A.5700-A/S.2898-A is also based on our expectation that not-for-profit entities will play an ever-increasing role in the advancement of the state's high technology sector. We are seeing a growth in collaborative efforts involving the business sector and public and private universities that are implemented through not-for-profit organizations. Among other benefits, these organizations have facilitated combined private and public research and development funding. Likewise, we expect to see a number of high technology research and development parks, business incubator centers, and other high tech infrastructure projects developed and supported through not-for-profit corporations.
Finally, The Business Council supports program and procedural reforms included in this legislation. These include:
- Expanded public notice requirements for proposed IDA-financed projects;
- A more clear definition of the categories of not-for-profit projects are eligible for IDA financing;
- Limitations on the ability of IDAs to finance retail projects;
- Requirements for periodic public hearings on, and re-adoption of, IDA-specific tax exemption policies, and expanded notice of any proposed deviations from uniform tax exemption policies.
For these reasons, The Business Council urges legislative approval of A.5700-A (Morelle)/S.2898-A (Stachowski).