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Empire Zone Action Waiting on NYS Assembly

By Dave Lucas


Albany, NY – Businesses abusing the Empire Zone development program could catch a break if the state Assembly passes a bill delaying their removal. Capital Distrcit Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Businesses abusing the Empire Zone development program could get a break if the Assembly passes a bill delaying their removal by a year. The bill, approved by the Senate on July 16th in a unanimous vote, would block some of the measures taken to kick 544 underperforming businesses identified by the Empire State Development Corporation as "underperforming" out of the program.

The Assembly legislation was initially drafted to help businesses, such as large manufacturing companies, who were abiding by the rules to keep their tax credits for another year.

New York State's Empire Zone tax-credit program was created in the early 1980s, intended to entice development in poorer, urban areas. Today, it costs $520 million a year and involves more than 9,000 companies.

Governor David Paterson's office argues that delaying the effective date of Empire Zone decertifications by one year -- would cost New York about $90 million. Assemblyman Jim Tedisco accuses the Governor of retroactively disassembling the Empire Zone program. Tedisco says local businesses need "certainty" - he expects the bill will be taken up as soon as the Assembly comes back to Albany in September.