Samsung might not build in NY, but proposed site still costing millions
The Investigative Post wrote last week that Samsung is unlikely to build a new $17B factory in the town of Alabama, between Buffalo and Rochester. New York State has already spent $26 million prepping the target site for a high-tech manufacturer.
IP reporter Mark Scheer details how the Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) was a poor investment to begin with – it’s far away, inaccessible, unpopulated, and undeveloped. Several companies to date have considered the site, then decided to go elsewhere.
Though there’s no guarantee that STAMP will ever have tenants, expenses to date have included marvels such as $49,798 for a sign at the park entrance, or $240,193 in 2019 for the salary of Genesse County Economic Development Center director Steve Hyde, “one of the highest paid economic development officials in the state.”
According to Nathan Jensen at the University of Texas, Samsung is only looking at STAMP to win more incentives from the most likely victor: Austin, Texas, where Samsung already has a site.
Advocates pressure Hamburg IDA to reject Amazon subsidies
Despite the high-profile opposition to Long Island City’s proposed HQ2, most Amazon distribution centers around the country are subsidized with little debate. That hasn’t been the case in Hamburg (near Buffalo), where the Coalition for Economic Justice is now pressuring the local IDA to reject $6.8 million in subsidies for an Amazon facility.
State Senator Sean Ryan and Assemblymember Jonathan Rivera sent a letter to the Hamburg IDA last week calling for Amazon’s subsidy request to be turned down (this followed a similar letter by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz in early February). They cited a recent report by Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations that found the subsidies would cost $85,000 per job – fourteen times higher than a cap proposed in economic development legislation introduced last year in the New York State Assembly.
Good Jobs First notes that Amazon subsidies often cost states hundreds of millions of dollars. Amazon is a $1.7 trillion company and Jeff Bezos is the second-richest person in the world.
Kushner’s company could have profited from Opportunity Zones
Every day brings more revelations of Trump’s Opportunity Zones benefiting his inner circle, but an analysis by the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) shows how deep the graft goes.
Reviewing Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s financial disclosures, CREW notes how the program may have benefited Kushner’s investment company:
Jared owned a significant financial stake in a company called Cadre which offers investment vehicles under the Opportunity Zones program. When Trump and Kushner entered the administration, Kushner’s stake in Cadre was valued between $5 million and $25 million. The value would rise to $25 million to $50 million. Kushner originally failed to disclose his ownership in Cadre. Despite the fact that the top White House ethics official determined at one point that it was “reasonably necessary” for him to divest from Cadre in order to do his job at the White House, he never did.
In New York, Opportunity Zone projects get both a federal and state tax abatement. Cadre is based in New York – meaning that if Kushner profited from Opportunity Zones, it’s likely NY taxpayers were footing much of the subsidy cost.
Other NY Handouts to Businesses
- Buffalo’s Outer Harbor will be getting improvements through Buffalo Billion and New York Power Authority, though the total contribution from the state is unknown. The cost in total is estimated to be $151 million (Spectrum).
- A $17 million senior housing complex will receive $1.9 million from Buffalo Billion, along with a mix of state and federal subsidies (WIVB 4).
What we’re reading
- The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) is reportedly investigating COR Development, which was implicated in the Buffalo Billion scandal (Times Union).
If you got this from a friend, sign up here. Subsidy Sheet is written by Tom Speaker, Policy Analyst at Reinvent Albany. Please send questions and tips to tom [at] reinventalbany.org. We look forward to hearing from you!