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State moves to pull empire zone status from 13 area firms

State moves to pull empire zone status from 13 area firms

The state announced this week it will revoke Empire Zone certifications for 13 Schenectady County bu

The state announced this week it will revoke Empire Zone certifications for 13 Schenectady County businesses, including the Parker Inn and the Galesi-owned Scotia Industrial Park and Center City building downtown.

The businesses have until July 21 to file a notice of appeal.

David Buicko, chief executive officer for the Galesi Group, said the company plans to appeal. “We are very comfortable that we comply with Empire Zone regulations,” he said.

Chris Myers, owner of the Parker Inn on State Street, was not available for comment.

Katie Krawczyk, spokeswoman for the Empire State Development Corp., said the state revoked the certifications because the companies either failed a 1-to-1 cost-benefit test or were identified as “shirt-changers.”

The 1-to-1 test measures whether a company’s gross wages and capital investments equaled the tax benefits it used and had refunded. Shirt-changers are new companies that are similar in ownership and operation to an existing business in the state and showed no growth in their employee base for the period measured.

The Empire State Development Corp., in making its determinations, looked at company-provided data from 2001 to 2007, Krawczyk said.

The Empire Zone program awards state tax credits and exemptions to about 9,000 businesses statewide. The businesses are expected to retain and create jobs. The program also is used to lure companies into the state.

The state this year made changes to the Empire Zone program, both as a cost-saving measure and to make the program more effective. The state expects to save $90 million through the changes.

The state is revoking certification for 19 businesses in Albany County, eight in Montgomery County and four in Fulton County, including the Wal-Mart Distribution Center.

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