MAYVILLE - Several Chautauqua County legislators plan to call on the county Industrial Development Agency to provide a jobs report in light of a recent report from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
That report, released earlier this month, noted a lack of evidence linking tax breaks from statewide IDAs and job growth.
DiNapoli said as a result of significant tax breaks given to entice and retain local businesses, cities, towns and villages have missed out on millionS of property tax dollars.
In a news release, Minority Leader Lori Cornell, D-Jamestown, said she, Tom DeJoe, D-Brocton, and Paula DeJoy, D-Jamestown plan to ask Bill Daly, county IDA director, to provide an update to the legislature regarding job growth through the IDA.
A communication regarding the report was read out loud during May's legislature meeting.
"I believe the legislature should be doing everything in its power to focus on the economy and jobs," DeJoe said. "The people of Chautauqua County deserve a proactive local government that is doing everything possible to reverse our economic decline."
DeJoe said due to population and student decline, property taxes have increased and business has slowed or moved out of the county. As a result, job loss has been "significant."
"... And has been the prime factor of the migration of so many people, including students, out of our beautiful county," he said. "With no replacement factories and businesses, the net result: a declining population of adults and students, abandoned and decaying housing and buildings and higher property taxes."
Asked if he would be willing to provide the report to the legislature, Daly said, "Oh, Absolutely. We should do it once a year; an annual report is outstanding. We have a lot going on, on a yearly basis, so this would be great."
"Job retention is just one part of it," he added. "If anyone ever wanted to know what is going on, they can just ask. Our website has all the information as well as the auditor's report."
DeJoy noted county taxpayers deserve the "biggest bang for their buck" when it comes to incentives toward local business development. She alluded to the comptroller's report, which noted a "low percentage of jobs created versus jobs retained" relative to comparable counties.
According to DiNapoli, in 2010, the Chautauqua County IDA had 37 projects, totaling $398 million, with $11.7 million in gross tax exemptions and $11.2 million in payment in lieu of taxes.
The report indicates that 608 jobs were estimated to be created, with 4,012 jobs to be retained with an estimated net job change of 457.
In Cattaraugus County, 355 jobs were created in 2010 through its IDA, at total cost of $193 million; the report shows no cost per job gained and no total gross tax exemptions.
"I don't think there's anyone who would argue that jobs and taxes are the most pressing issues in Chautauqua County," Cornell said. "We are aware that we are losing many of our most talented people to other areas, our economic base is declining and family sustaining job opportunities are fewer. Strong economic development must include not only the retention of existent businesses, but the growth and attraction of new ones as well."