On Monday, Senator Liz Krueger of Manhattan wrote a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Empire State Development Corporation President and CEO Ken Adams concerning reports that ESDC planning to restore Empire Tax Credits to 545 businesses that had their benefits stripped in 2009. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
Senator Kruger says even though the Empire Zone program has sunsetted, some companies continue to draw on credits that were pre-approved for a ten year period.
She urged the ESDC to build on recent reforms while continuing to improve transparency and accountability for economic development tax expenditures, and asked that any proposal to restore benefits rescinded in 2009, be reconsidered.
Ken Adams answered Kruger's letter with one of his own, expressing disappointment that the Senator did not reach out to his office for the facts before sending her letter.
He went on to explain that "ESDC is not restoring Empire Zone tax credits to businesses that were decertified in 2009, nor has this process been conducted in secret." He pointed out that 545 businesses were decertified for failing to meet the requirements of the Empire Zone program, and a few dozen have since sued to challenge their decertifications, a process being resolved in compliance with applicable law.
Senator Kruger says reports appearing in newspaper blogs that she attacked the governor and Ken Adams have been inaccurate - she says she urged them to do everything they could to make sure the businesses were not allowed back into the program.
Ken Adams sent ANOTHER Letter - to the Syracuse Post-Standard - to inform newspapers and bloggers -quote- "over the past three weeks there have been three meetings of the Empire Zones Development Board, each of which has been completely open to the public. The meetings were all publicly advertised a week in advance, broadcast live and archived for viewing at a later time"