New York's local Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) reported 4,262 active projects with a total value of $114 billion in 2020, an increase of $5.3 billion from the prior year, according to an annual report on IDAs released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. While reported project values have risen, the number of projects has decreased by 58, or 1.3%, since 2019. This continues a long-term trend, where project values have increased by 57% and the number of projects has declined by 4% since 2010.
“This report gives taxpayers a clear look at the financial and project data as reported by IDAs for their communities,” DiNapoli said. “IDAs can play an important role in helping local economies and businesses expand and recover after the pandemic. The tax breaks they provide do impact local taxes and should be looked at closely. Publishing this information, including IDA costs, increases their transparency and accountability to taxpayers.”
DiNapoli’s report also found IDAs reported the following:
- For the 4,262 active IDA projects, it was estimated that a total of 225,227 jobs would be created during the life of the projects, with a median salary of $40,000, and 251,888 existing jobs would be retained, with a median salary of $44,727. A projected 44,636 temporary construction jobs would be created.
- The number of net jobs gained (reflecting current jobs reported by projects minus initial jobs reported) were 167,984 in 2020. This is the smallest number of jobs gained in the last ten years.
- Total tax exemptions for IDA projects amounted to over $1.7 billion, up $273 million, or 19%, over 2019. Property tax exemptions represented $1.6 billion, or 90% of total tax exemptions, and were partially offset by $782 million in payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) in 2020.
- Net tax exemptions (reflecting total tax exemptions minus PILOTs) totaled $966 million, an increase of $171 million, or 21%, from 2019. Over the ten-year period ending in 2020, net tax exemptions just about doubled.
- Regionally, total net tax exemptions granted were much higher downstate, with IDAs in New York City, Long Island and the Mid-Hudson regions together granting 61% of all net tax exemptions. On a per capita basis, the New York City IDA provides the lowest net tax exemptions per capita ($22), while the Capital District had the highest ($93) in 2020.
- In 2020, IDAs had total revenues of $72 million, consisting largely of project fees, a decline of $3.6 million from 2019. New York City IDA had the highest total revenues ($6.7 million), followed by Genesee County IDA ($5.7 million), Chautauqua County IDA ($4.8 million) and Chemung County IDA ($4 million).
- Total IDA expenses in 2020 were $85 million, down $11.8 million from 2019. The largest operating expense category was professional services contracts, such as for accounting, legal or marketing services ($22.2 million, or 26%, of the total). Salaries, wages and benefits for IDA employees accounted for $19.2 million, or 23%, of the total. New York City’s IDA had the highest expenses ($8.6 million).
- The largest new IDA project in 2020 by project value ($2.4 billion) was the New York City IDA’s BOP SE LLC project, which is constructing Two Manhattan West, a commercial office tower that is part of the Hudson Yards development.
The report summarizes data as reported by IDAs for fiscal year 2020 through the Public Authorities Reporting Information System, and is not independently verified by the State Comptroller’s Office. Three IDAs did not submit their data in time for this report. The report also contains information on Local Development Corporations, a related type of local authority.
DiNapoli’s office examines IDA costs and outcomes in several ways, including performing audits of the operations of individual IDAs, providing training to IDA officials on various topics, and encouraging improvements in IDA procedures and reporting.
IDA Data by Region
Office of the New York State Comptroller - 2020 IDA Data by Region
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