New York Gov. David Paterson suggested today that major reforms might be needed for the state’s industrial development agencies because they had fallen short of job-creation goals.

“We recognize that IDAs are not working as they were expected — to produce jobs in the state,” Paterson said at a news conference. “We may have to do a sweeping IDA reform, but because the not-for-profits have a deadline, now we are trying to reform it in this process.”

It wasn’t clear if Paterson mispoke about the deadline since the law allowing IDAs to sell bonds for civic facilities on behalf of nonprofits expired in January, or if he was referring to the end of the legislative session on June 23.

The Senate and Assembly have been deadlocked on IDA reform over the issue of wages. The Assembly passed a bill last year that would have required prevailing wages to be paid on projects financed by IDAs. The Senate has rejected the wage provision as too costly to the businesses and nonprofits that use IDA financing. Paterson mentioned that wages were an issue but did not elaborate.

Dan MacEntee, spokesman for Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, said he didn’t know what the governor had in mind.

“Obviously this is an issue he’s aware of, but it seems like there’s a lot more discussion that needs to take place,” MacEntee said. “Hopefully something can be resolved before the session adjourns next week.”

Little sponsored the Senate’s version of an IDA reform bill and has been involved in ongoing discussions with the governor’s office and Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo.

MacEntee said Little would support an extension bill to allow IDAs to resume selling bonds for nonprofits. Hoyt has said that an extension bill is a possibility. 

 

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