Thursday, August 09, 2007

How Are New York's Empire Zones Doing?

Not All That Well, It Would Seem

Missing the goals, yet reaping the benefits, New York's coveted Empire Zones are apparently not all that the State of New York made them out to be.

View as the great panacea for crumbling economic infrastructures throughout New York, and, in particular, the economically depressed towns, villages and hamlets long in need of economic revival, recent reports detail a boon for the businesses that partake in the tax breaks and other financial incentives, but more of a boondoggle for the localities that have become all too dependent on these zones to kick-start the economy.

The Syracuse Post-Standard fills us in on the state of the Empire Zones, and the apparent failure of many of such zones to live up to either potential or promise.

How is Nassau County's Empire Zone fairing amidst the allegations and audits? Too soon to tell, perhaps. And yet, one senses that they're no closer to target here on Long Island than they are in Syracuse.
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Empire Zone letters
Posted by Brian Cubbison July 30, 2007 6:16PM

New York state's economic development agency put 3,000 warning letters in the mail to businesses it said did not meet at least 60 percent of their promises to create jobs and invest money in exchange for Empire Zone tax breaks. The state used the companies' applications and 2005 Business Annual Reports to make the list. Next, the state plans to look at the 2006 annual reports to see if the companies made any progress in the next year. If not, state officials may notify the companies that they will try to revoke their Empire Zone membership. The companies will have time to appeal.

Read the story by Michelle Breidenbach of The Post-Standard.

Download the Excel file of 3,000 businesses.

Download a sample letter (Word document) or read the html version.

Previous special reports from The Post-Standard: "The Great Empire Zone Giveaway"

Dear Responsible Officer:

We have recently completed an audit of empire zone certified businesses based on information provided in the 2005 Business Annual Reports (BAR).

In the audit, we examined companies that failed to meet at least 60% of their job or investment goals as projected at the time they submitted their applications for empire zone certification.

The results of the audit indicate that Business Name has not met at least 60% of its job or investment goals.

The purpose of this letter is to alert you to the importance of meeting these goals in order to maintain your status as an empire zone certified business. However, if you believe our records are not an accurate reflection of job creation and capital investments made by your business, please feel free to provide additional information.

We will soon be examining the 2006 Business Annual Reports to determine if additional progress by your company has been made towards your job and investment goals. If not, we may notify you of the intent to revoke your certification pursuant to Title 5 of the New York Rules and Regulations, Part 11.9 (5 NYCRR 11.9). If we send you a notification, you will have a right to appeal the decision and will be provided instructions on how to request a hearing.

We understand that in the competitive and ever changing business environment in which you operate that failure to reach your goals may be for reasons beyond your control. And, we hope that your 2006 Business Annual Report will reflect the growth and expansion of your business that you expected and had hoped for as well so that you can continue enjoying the benefits of the empire zones program.

Randal Coburn
Director, Empire Zones

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