Labor groups protest hotel subsidies

Around 100 people from local labor groups gathered Wednesday morning to protest the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency’s awarding of tax breaks to hotels. They say low-cost hotels like the Budget Inn on Niagara Falls Boulevard, where the protest was held, should not receive subsidies because they don’t create good-paying jobs. The protest was organized by the Coalition for Economic Justice.

Investigative Post reported on the subsidies in January, documenting how the IDA’s indiscriminate granting of tax breaks to hotels defied the recommendations of a 2011 study commissioned by the state. That study found that the city had already had a “glut” of lower-end hotel rooms and that subsidies for budget hotels had “limited potential for economic impacts.”

The IDA refused to make anyone available to comment on today’s protest. But, at the beginning of the year, IDA Chairman Henry Sloma defended tax breaks for hotels, saying: “We’ve decided what’s best for our community and we’re taking steps to do that.”