Critics and supporters of industrial development agencies made their case for or against IDAs at a hearing last week at the New York Assembly in Albany.
The hearing came more than a year after the law that allowed the state’s 115 IDAs to sell bonds on behalf of nonprofits for civic facilities expired.
Since January 2008, many borrowers and potential borrowers have been unable to finance projects or refinance debt through the IDAs. Some have turned to the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York for their financing needs. DASNY has been working on legislation that would allow it to become an alternative to IDAs.
Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo, has reintroduced IDA reform legislation this session that he has said will make such agencies more accountable and transparent. His bill also would impose wage standards on both nonprofit and for-profit entities receiving IDA financing, which was a sticking point in negotiations with Republican lawmakers who steadfastly opposed wage requirements. It remains to be seen whether the Democratic takeover of the Senate will break the deadlock on IDA legislation in Albany.
“I want to see real reform happen,” Hoyt said. “I’m prepared to make that permanent if we see some genuine reforms of IDAs.”
Brian McMahon, executive director New York State Economic Development Council, which represent development professionals, said in a press release that letting nonprofits borrow again would help the state’s economy as it struggles through recession.
“Extending the IDA nonprofit law would create jobs, generate $70 million in new state tax and IDA fee revenues, and provide an economic stimulus for many of New York’s struggling communities,” McMahon said.