Five Subsidy Stories You Might Have Missed This Week


1. Empire State Development refuses to release a report on the number of jobs at Tesla’s Buffalo plant (Investigative Post). Tesla claims to be about 500 jobs short of its commitment but expects to meet the goal by year’s end.

ESD issued a statement indicating that Tesla now has 1,000 workers at the Gigafactory in Buffalo — 460 short of the total the company promised to create under its original agreement with the state.

2. The NY State Senate passed a suite of Industrial Development Agency reform bills this week (Law360). The bills include amendments that would prohibit IDAs from incentivizing relocations within the state, strengthen school district notification requirements, and more. There’s no news on whether or not the bills will move in the Assembly.

The Senate Democratic majority advanced the 10-bill package, arguing it would reform and bring accountability to local industrial development agencies, or IDAs, across New York.

3. A developer wants 20 years of property tax breaks for a 72-unit apartment building in Westbury on Long Island (Newsday). The company also seeks sales and mortgage tax exemptions.

The developer is seeking a sales-tax exemption of up to $818,500 on the purchase of construction materials, equipment and furnishings and up to $136,900 off the mortgage recording tax. It also wants property-tax savings over 20 years; the current tax bill is $102,700, according to the application for IDA aid.

4. At Boondoggle, Pat Garofalo writes about the shocking defeat of a major corporate tax break in Texas. (The Intercept also covered it this week.)

[Chapter 313 is] expensive, with costs in the billions of dollars, and is ultimately ineffective, as it isn’t the dealbreaker that bring corporations to the Lone Star State. As Prof. Nathan Jensen at the University of Texas at Austin found, 85 percent of firms that received Chapter 313 benefits to locate in Texas would have done so even without the money.

5. Massachusetts is considering reforming its film tax break – predictably, industry advocates say this would kill film production in the state (Mass Live). A recent study found the tax break only returns 14 cents on the dollar.

Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Michael Rodrigues said while unveiling the budget to reporters this month that “too much of the money, the tax credits and the benefits of the tax credit, go to out-of-state individuals and out-of-state companies.”

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