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Here in New York, industrial development agencies (IDAs) are one of main job creation mechanisms for local communities.In 2009, IDAs gave away close to half a billion dollars in tax breaks to companies in the name of economic development.IDAs are known as "public benefit corporations" - they're supposed to help their local communities, and create jobs.But in their four decades of existence, they've been accused of everything from failing to comply with state laws, to simply being inefficient.You can follow the Innovation Trail's investigation into how IDAs spend your tax dollars by subscribing to the RSS feed on the right.

Oversight agency censures 13 local public authorities

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Letters of censure have been sent to 13 local agencies that failed to turn over public records.

Public authorities are set up to serve the public good in some way.

But 13 local public authorities across New York have been censured by an oversight agency for repeatedly failing to comply with state law.

The Authorities Budget Office (ABO) says the 13 authorities have failed to turn over public records, like financial statements, for months.

David Kidera heads the ABO and says the censure letters sent by his organization are often the second or third notices.

"Throughout that whole process they have opportunities to file these reports, and these entities just are not responsive," he says.

Kidera adds this public censure could affect the credit ratings of the censured authorities. And if they remain out of compliance, the ABO could take them to court or request that their board members be removed.

Many of the censured authorities are local development corporations (LDCs), which are often set up by local governments for economic development purposes, similar to industrial development agencies (IDAs)

Both IDAs and LDCs have been criticized as ineffectual, self-serving, and sometimes redundant economic development tools, in need of reform.

Here is the list of censured authorities:

  • Canton Local Development Corporation
  • Cayuga County Development Corporation
  • Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corporation
  • Greater Brockport Development Corporation
  • Johnstown Economic Development Corporation
  • Niagara Falls Urban Renewal Agency
  • Rockland Economic Development Corporation
  • Seneca Knit Development Corporation
  • Sleepy Hollow Parking Authority
  • Suffolk County Judicial Facilities Agency
  • Town of Erwin Industrial Development Agency
  • Town of Erwin Urban Renewal Agency
  • Village of Lancaster Community Development Corporation

The Innovation Trail is taking a closer look at New York State's industrial development agencies, or IDAs. Get up to speed on what IDAs do - and what they don't do - by reading this primer, and subscribing to the IDA RSS feed.

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