IDA has to stop giving away taxpayers’ money

On Jan. 24, The News carried an Another Voice by Edward Stachura of the Amherst Industrial Development Agency extolling the IDA’s virtues, especially during the period from 1980 to 2010. It did not mention the illegal procedure by which the AIDA helped Amherst developers lure Buffalo tenants to Amherst’s so-called spec office buildings during that period.

The AIDA granted large tax exemptions to Amherst developers, thus enabling them to erect spec office buildings. Their reduced rental rates were then offered to Buffalo tenants, and many took the bait. It was an illegal practice and the City of Buffalo and several downtown building owners brought suit.

After three years of litigation, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled the procedure illegal and ordered repayment of the challenged tax abatements.

The AIDA recently reverted to the illegal procedure by granting tax abatements of $500,000 to have Premier Liquor move its Kenmore store to Amherst with no jobs created, and the IDA is still making headlines for its unwise decisions to give away the taxpayers’ money.

David Sweet

Main Seneca Corp.