Subsidy Sheet: IDA Tax Breaks Drain $1.8 Billion a Year from NY Schools, By Far Most in Country


recent analysis from Good Jobs First shows schools in New York State lost at least $1.8 billion in fiscal year 2021 to Industrial Development Agency (IDA) giveaways. That makes New York schools by far the biggest known losers to abatements, by more than three times that of second-place South Carolina.  

Next week, a broad coalition of advocates, unions, and faith leaders will join Senator Sean Ryan and Assemblymember Harry Bronson in support of their bill, S89/A351, which would prohibit IDAs from waiving taxes that go to school districts. 

Tax abatements cost an average of $541 per pupil per year among the affected school districts, which puts New York in the country’s top five. But that average masks a wide range. For example, losses are just $3 per student per year in West Genesee, where the student body is 85% white, but over $5,000 for Peekskill, where nearly nine out of ten students are of color and over three-quarters qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. And from $5 per student per year in Hoosick Falls, which is almost all-white, to $2,000 per student for Uniondale where almost all attendees are of color. 

Join us on Tuesday, June 6 for a press conference on the 4th Floor of the State Capitol, above the Senate Chambers, at 11am. We’ll call on the legislature to take action to end these egregious corporate giveaways that drain our schools of essential resources. 

New York Corporate Giveaway News:

  • The State Senate again passed Sen. Gianaris’s bill ending NY’s Opportunity Zone tax breakAll eyes are now on the Assembly.
  • IDA tax abatements in Western NY drain $2,000 or more per student from school district coffers according to new reporting from the Investigative Post. 
  • IDA subsidies don’t work to grow jobs or strengthen economies, and companies generally don’t need them. But handing out subsidies does help pad IDA bank accounts. 
  • Las Vegas Sands is seeking tax breaks from the Nassau County IDA for its planned $4 billion entertainment and casino complex in Uniondale.

Fun Fact: In 2015, the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) began requiring cities, towns, and school districts to report how much revenue they lose each year to tax abatements. This new data has allowed journalists, academics, and other watchdogs to see how much is lost to corporate giveaways.

If you got this from a friend, sign up here. Subsidy Sheet is written by Elizabeth Marcello and edited by John Kaehny.