DiNapoli slams IDAs for providing incomplete costs, jobs data

Citing incomplete data on project costs and job creation from industrial development agencies, state

IDA report

To view the report by the state comptroller’s office on industrial development agencies, click here.

Citing incomplete data on project costs and job creation from Industrial Development Agencies, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Wednesday his office will generally accept only audited, complete financial statements starting with 2007 reports.

He said failure to provide the information could cost IDAs their ability to provide tax breaks to businesses.

“IDAs are supposed to create jobs,” DiNapoli said. “Given the way IDAs are currently reporting information, there is no way of knowing that.”

The comptroller’s office found the 116 active IDAs — independent public authorities serving counties, cities, towns and villages — did little to verify individual employers’ job claims in projects totaling some $41 billion. Also, IDA reports had incomplete costs for 27 percent of the projects and incomplete job data for 9 percent.

IDAs statewide reported 228,000 jobs created by 2006, with an annual cost per job averaging $4,195. Among 3,813 projects, businesses received $456 million in 2006 tax exemptions and another $1.6 billion in low-interest loans, the comptroller’s office said.

“Our concern is that IDAs aren’t verifying jobs numbers from companies,” said Jennifer Freeman, spokeswoman for DiNapoli. The comptroller’s office is currently auditing the IDAs in Tioga County, Hornell and Yonkers, she said. Audits include checks on whether reported jobs exist.

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