Articles for J. Dale Shoemaker

Jan 27

2023

Bills target alleged abuses by IDAs

State lawmakers plan to introduce legislation this spring that would close a loophole that allows industrial development agencies to grant tax breaks to restaurants and other retail businesses — thanks in part to what they perceive as abuses in Niagara County. The state banned tax breaks for retail projects, including restaurants, a decade ago. But they left in exceptions for tourism projects and retail establishments in so-called “distressed areas” with high poverty and high unemployment. The new proposed legislation is sponsored by Sen. Sean Ryan, the newly-appointed chairman of the Commerce, Economic Development, and Small Business Committee, and Assemblyman Jonathan[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Jan 26

2023

‘Weak’ relocation clause in Bills’ lease

The Buffalo Bills would have an easier time abandoning their new stadium in Orchard Park for another city than any of the other teams playing in subsidized stadiums built for NFL franchises in recent years, Investigative Post has found. Four NFL stadiums have been built with public assistance since 2014: Levi’s Stadium for the San Francisco 49ers, U.S. Bank Stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the Atlanta Falcons, and Allegiant Stadium for the Las Vegas Raiders. Like the Bills draft lease, those agreements require teams in those stadiums to pay back the taxpayer’s investment in the event they[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Jan 23

2023

Another subsidized tenant for STAMP

A remote industrial park in Genesee County will soon have its second tenant: Edwards Vacuum, a company that manufactures equipment used in the semiconductor industry. But luring Edwards Vacuum, a British company, to the Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park, or STAMP, has come at a cost: $39.2 million in taxpayer subsidies. That’s in exchange for 600 jobs over the next decade, with 343 being hired in the next three years. And that’s just the beginning. In addition to $22 million in subsidies from Empire State Development, New York’s economic development arm, and $17.2 million in property and sales tax[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Jan 19

2023

Tax breaks for fast food in Niagara Falls

A fast-food franchise developer is looking to bring an A&W and Moe’s Southwest Grill to downtown Niagara Falls — and is seeking $172,000 in tax breaks to do it. IDA subsidies are available only to projects that would not be economically feasible otherwise. But the developer told Investigative Post he doesn’t need the tax breaks from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency to proceed. “This is a little help, but we are able to do it without it as well,” said Muhammad Shoaib, the franchisee and developer. The subsidies he’s seeking have also drawn criticism. “Business subsidies are bad, but[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Jan 11

2023

Tesla’s solar factory in Buffalo fizzles

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans in 2013 for what is now Tesla’s factory in South Buffalo, he pitched it as a cornerstone of the “clean energy revolution” and a new high-tech industrial sector for Western New York. The project would create not only more than 1,400 direct jobs, but spin-off development that would provide a supply chain employing thousands of additional workers. Cuomo proclaimed the project a “game-changer.” Fast-forward to today. Less than one-quarter of the workforce at the Tesla factory is engaged in solar-related manufacturing. That work was suspended altogether for at least six months last year.  Podcast:[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Dec 8

2022

Lawmakers indicate no review for Bills stadium

Updated: 5:05 p.m. The Buffalo Bills new stadium is now set to win approval from the Erie County Legislature without completing a full environmental review that’s been required of similar projects around the state. Legislators on Thursday signaled that they would issue a “negative declaration” next week under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, forgoing an Environmental Impact Statement. That would allow the Bills to skip a full environmental assessment.  After more than an hour of testimony and discussion, legislators said they felt comfortable moving forward without an EIS, something that was required for all major league sports venues built[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Dec 1

2022

Erie IDA eyes largest subsidy package in years

Updated: 2:50 p.m. The Erie County Industrial Development Agency is entertaining a request for the largest package of tax breaks it has awarded in the past five years.  The $11.8 million in tax breaks for Sonwil Distribution work out to $621,000 per new job. In addition to hiring 19 new workers, the company would relocate 22 of its current employees.   But Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, a member of the IDA board of directors, has raised “serious concerns” about the size of the subsidy package, according to a spokesperson. “There is no way I am in favor of $11 million[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Nov 29

2022

More subsidies for high-end apartments

Industrial development agencies were initially in the business of creating or retaining jobs. Their mission these days includes finding new uses for old buildings. The Amherst IDA last month approved $1.88 million in tax breaks for a project that does neither. The planned construction of apartments and retail space at 5877 Main Street in Williamsville will create only two permanent jobs. And the older building that was located on the site — Milos Restaurant — is slated for demolition. A four-story building will go up in its place. The first floor will include Excuria Salon and Spa and retail space.[...]

Posted 2 months ago