Tag: Economy

May 27

2024

Americans are horribly misinformed on the economy

Published by

Subscribe to WeeklyPost and you’ll receive Jim Heaney’s recommended reading Sunday mornings in your inbox. We’re a nation that watches football, obsessives over Taylor Swift and can’t stop staring at our phone screens. Paying attention to reality, not so much. A poll released last week showed most Americans are horribly misinformed over the state of the economy, which in turn is coloring their views on national politics.  Consider: A majority say we’re in a recession; we’re not. Most say unemployment is at a record high; it’s actually near a 50-year low.  A majority say inflation is rising; it’s decreasing. Most[...]

Posted 1 day ago

May 23

2024

Harris Beach, Hodgson Russ profiting off IDAs

Published by

A meeting of the Erie County IDA board of directors. Photo by Garrett Looker. When New York’s industrial development agencies grant tax breaks, it’s not just local companies that benefit — two upstate law firms walk away with major paydays, too. Hodgson Russ and Harris Beach — based in Buffalo and the Rochester area, respectively — earn millions of dollars in fees each year, according to research from the watchdog groups Reinvent Albany and Good Jobs First. That report comes on the heels of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s annual IDA report, also released Wednesday. The comptroller’s report showed that for[...]

Posted 5 days ago

May 16

2024

A lot of time (422 days) and money ($50,493.50)

Published by

Photo illustration by Garrett Looker. Fifty-thousand, four-hundred ninety-three dollars. And fifty cents.  That’s how much a New York state agency paid an Albany law firm to review and redact records about the Tesla factory in South Buffalo before releasing them to Investigative Post. It took the agency 14 months to fulfill the Freedom of Information Law request. “I think it’s outrageous,” said Paul Wolf, president of the New York Coalition for Open Government. “It’s outrageous to spend $50,000 on an outside attorney to process one FOIL request. And this is for a project that has already received $959 million in[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

May 14

2024

Secretive state board gives Amazon another break

Published by

The 3 million-square-foot Amazon distribution center being built in Niagara County will not have to pay construction workers prevailing wages, a state board has ruled, despite the project receiving $137 million in tax breaks and subsidies.  State law says the developer must pay prevailing wages if a private construction project costs more than $5 million and subsidies account for at least 30 percent of costs. The wage rate is set by the state Department of Labor and influenced by union pay.  But the state Public Subsidy Board decided in March those rules won’t apply to the Amazon facility.  Why not?[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Apr 30

2024

IDAs have ‘perverse incentive’ to issue tax breaks

Published by

The Erie County IDA earns a majority of its revenue from fees generated by approving subsidy deals. Photo by Garrett Looker. No wonder industrial development agencies across New York State dole out so many tax breaks, watchdog groups say: The more IDAs issue, the more money they make for themselves. That system creates a “perverse incentive,” the groups claim in a new report. “It just creates this horrible incentive where the IDA isn’t working for the public anymore, it’s working for its own self interest,” said Anya Gizis, a researcher at Good Jobs First and one of the report’s authors.[...]

Posted 4 weeks ago

Apr 25

2024

Feds revoke major permit for STAMP industrial park

Published by

Three spills of drilling fluid into protected wetlands contributed to revocation of permit. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has dealt a major blow to the developers of a massive industrial park in rural Genesee County, notifying them this week that the agency would revoke a key permit needed to construct the park’s wastewater pipeline. That pipeline in recent months has emerged as one of the most controversial components of the 1,250-acre Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park — STAMP — one of the largest industrial parks under construction in New York. It’s so far generated two lawsuits and its[...]

Posted 1 month ago

Apr 10

2024

Tesla using Chinese solar panels on Buffalo plant

Published by

  The Tesla factory in South Buffalo, built to manufacture solar panels, today uses solar panels on its roof made by a competitor in China. That’s a fact state officials have reluctantly confirmed in response to a Freedom of Information request submitted by Investigative Post. Officials initially refused, claiming the identity of the manufacturer was a “trade secret,” but relented after an appeal filed under the FOI Law. Tesla has covered about one-third of the factory’s roof with panels manufactured by LONGi Green Energy Technology, a Chinese firm and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of solar modules. It plans[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Apr 2

2024

Roundup of Buffalo Bills stadium coverage

Published by

Image courtesy of WGRZ. Now seems like a good time to review our reporting on the Bills’ new $1.7 billion stadium, slated to open in 2026. Most of the following stories were reported by J. Dale Shoemaker and Mark Scheer.  Taxpayer subsidies: Subsidies will top $1 billion between construction and maintenance and go well beyond what New York State typically spends on stadiums and arenas or what taxpayers spend in most other states. The lease will not provide Erie County taxpayers with any relief for maintenance and other ongoing stadium costs.  Economic impact: Stadiums typically generate little new economic activity,[...]

Posted 2 months ago
Investigative Post

Get our newsletters delivered to your inbox * indicates required

Newsletters *