Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) reported 4,320 active projects valued at $109 billion for 2019, a 3.3 percent, or $3.5 billion, increase in project values from 2018, while net tax exemptions totaled $796 million in 2019, compared to nearly $784 million in 2018. Project values have increased by 48 percent since 2009, while the number of active projects has declined by six percent over the same period, according to a report released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“IDAs reported an increase in the total value of active IDA projects for 2019, continuing an upward trend during the last decade,” said DiNapoli. “The reported number of net jobs gained as a result of these projects has hovered around 200,000 over the same period. I encourage New Yorkers to use the IDA project data we provide to assess whether the benefits these projects bring to their communities are worth the cost of the incentives their local IDAs are providing.”
IDAs are local public benefit corporations that exist to encourage local economic development projects by offering financial incentives to private companies, with the goal of increasing job opportunities and overall economic welfare in the area.
IDAs reported providing total tax exemptions of almost $1.5 billion in 2019, up 1.5 percent or $22 million from 2018. The vast majority of these benefits ($1.3 billion) were in the form of property tax exemptions. These were partially offset by $680 million in payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) to municipalities and school districts by IDA projects, for net exemptions of $796 million in 2019.
The value of net exemptions was generally highest downstate: IDAs in New York City, Mid-Hudson and Long Island regions accounted for 56 percent of all net tax exemptions. On a per capita basis, the New York City IDA provided the lowest net exemptions at $14 per capita, while the Capital District had the highest net exemptions at $92 per capita.
IDAs reported that project operators estimated 220,442 jobs would be created over the projected life of each active project reported in 2019, with a median salary of $40,000. They estimated 271,930 previously existing jobs would be retained with a median salary of $43,000. A total of 49,636 temporary construction jobs were also expected to be created.
Reported net jobs gained — the difference between the number of jobs at the start of the projects and those as of the reporting year — totaled 199,982 in 2019. Over the past decade, this number has remained fairly steady.
In 2019, IDAs reported total revenues of $75 million, down $21.1 million from 2018. The Erie County IDA had the highest revenues ($4.7 million), followed by the City of Yonkers ($4.3 million), Genesee County ($4.2 million), and Chautauqua County ($4 million). Expenditures in 2019 totaled $97 million, down $2.2 million from the prior year. The largest operating expenditure category for IDAs was professional services contracts at 23 percent of the total, for services such as accounting, legal or marketing. Salaries, wages and benefits for IDA employees totaled $17.5 million, or 18 percent of the total.
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