Tag: Economy

May 27

2024

Americans are horribly misinformed on the economy

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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

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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 14

2024

Secretive state board gives Amazon another break

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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 25

2024

Feds revoke major permit for STAMP industrial park

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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

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  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

Mar 20

2024

Is Tesla using a rival’s solar panels?

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Solar panels on the Tesla factory roof. Video via WGRZ. What’s the big secret? Tesla has installed solar panels on about one-third of the roof of its plant in South Buffalo, with plans to cover the rest by the end of the year. This is not surprising. The plant, after all, was built to manufacture parts for solar panels. But one thing doesn’t add up: The solar panels on the factory roof don’t look like the solar products Tesla sells.  Most notably, Tesla advertises its products as lacking the white grid lines seen on most solar panels.  The panels on[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Feb 15

2024

Workers protest loophole in state wage law

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  With the first glints of sun coming up over Kenmore Avenue, slowly burning off the morning’s 22-degree freeze, several dozen construction union members rallied Wednesday in protest of developer Michael Wopperer, hoping to highlight loopholes in New York’s prevailing wage law. Wopperer, the tradesmen and organizers said, had amassed some $17 million in public subsidies for his $23 million renovation of the former Wood & Brooks factory just across the road, yet will not be required to pay prevailing wage to the workers he’s employing on the project.  Wopperer told Investigative Post he’s employing some union workers on the[...]

Posted 3 months ago

Feb 2

2024

Unions, lawmakers renew push for IDA reform

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Union officials, lawmakers and good-government groups gathered in Albany this week to announce a renewed push for industrial development agency reform. Photo by Arabella Saunders, New York Focus. A version of this story was first published by New York Focus, a nonprofit news publication investigating power in New York. Sign up for their newsletter here. The fight to curb tax breaks issued by industrial development agencies has a powerful new ally: labor unions. Good government groups, legislators, a local development authority board member and their latest allies from the statewide teachers union and the AFL-CIO gathered in Albany Wednesday to urge the[...]

Posted 4 months ago
Investigative Post

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