May 6, 2010
DiNapoli IDA Report: Jobs Data Still Needs Improvement
Calls for Additional Reforms to Enhance Transparency and Accountability
Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) reported $66 billion in total project amounts in 2008, an 8 percent increase from 2007, and $645 million in net tax exemptions in 2008, a 9 percent increase from 2007, according to an annual report examining the performance of IDAs released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Because the most critical project performance metric – job creation and retention – still suffers from poor tracking and verification, DiNapoli is again advancing legislation to increase IDA transparency and accountability and minimize reporting discrepancies.
This is the third annual report released by DiNapoli examining the performance of the state’s IDAs.
“New York is slowly emerging from the Great Recession,” DiNapoli said. “It’s more imperative than ever that tax dollars are spent efficiently and effectively, especially when those dollars are being used to create jobs. The reporting requirements implemented by my office have helped paint a clearer picture of what IDAs are doing, and we’ve penalized IDAs that fail to report. But there’s still a lot of shadow surrounding IDAs. We need to spread a little more sunlight and transparency to make sure tax dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible and that projects supported by those dollars are creating the most jobs possible.”
Fiscal year 2008 was the first year that the New York City IDA reported its data through the Public Authorities Reporting Information System (PARIS) – a standardized electronic financial reporting system. Inconsistent reporting by the New York City IDA resulted in significant changes in the numbers reported in 2008.
In 2008, DiNapoli suspended ten IDAs for failure to file complete reports. Five IDAs have since come into compliance: Town of Wallkill IDA, Town of Montgomery IDA, Town of Sidney IDA, Town of Southeast IDA and Village of Groton IDA. The remaining IDAs whose authority to offer state tax exemptions is suspended include: Town of Erwin IDA, City of Newburgh IDA, Town of North Greenbush IDA, City of Oneida IDA and Town of Waterford IDA.
DiNapoli said the 2009 Public Authorities Reform Act expands the reporting requirements for all state and local authorities, including IDAs. Financial reports will now include grant and subsidy programs administered by the authority, operating and financial risks, information on bond rating and long-term liabilities (such as employee benefits).
Other findings of the report include:
IDAs are independent public authorities that offer real property tax, sales and mortgage recording tax exemptions, and low interest rate bonds to attract, retain and expand businesses. In 2008, there were 115 active IDAs.
For a copy of the report, visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/research/idareport2010.pdf
For project by project data, visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/research/idaprojects2008.xls
Comprehensive 2008 financial and debt information reported by IDAs is now available on the Comptroller’s Web site at: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/datanstat/findata/index_choice.htm.