Competition among Suffolk County, New York Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) is heating up, and expanding businesses are reaping the benefits. The growing property tax breaks are concerning some local governments, who fear it will lead to revenue shortfalls. Last month, Islip Town’s IDA approved a policy change that allows it for the first time to cut or freeze a company’s current property tax bill over a number of years, according to Newsday. Previously, the IDA could only limit tax increases. Islip’s move is similar to a policy change made by the Suffolk County IDA in June 2012. William G. Mannix, executive director of the Islip IDA, said it chose to offer more lucrative tax breaks because a half-dozen businesses in the town have done deals with the county IDA rather than Islip in the past year and a half.
Islip and county IDAs aren’t the only ones that can reduce current property tax bills, either. In fact, Islip actually adopted the policy employed by Babylon Town IDA for years. School districts that rely on property taxes for their budgets are voicing their concern, however. School officials are concerned that budgets will drop and they won’t receive benefits to replace the tax reductions from the IDAs. School officials also worry that other local property owners will become responsible for the tax burden. Union-backed opponents of IDA’s say the wide variety of tax breaks and competition against themselves is counterproductive for Long Island. Rather than working against each other, critics believe municipal IDAs should work together to form a stronger, united region.
For the full artcile from Newsday, click here.