Buffalo Democrat seeks end to school PILOTs (Jamestown Post-Journal)

John Whittaker - Jamestown Post-Journal

March 03, 2022

Originally published in Jamestown Post-Journal on March 03, 2022.

A Buffalo Democrat wants to stop letting PILOT agreements waive school taxes.

 

Sen. Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, has introduced S.8395 to prevent town, city or county Industrial Development Agencies from waiving school taxes as a way of increasing school district revenues above and beyond the increases already proposed in the 2022-23 state budget.

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Ryan was critical of IDAs, which report to the state job creation and economic benefit information, with the senator critical of the lack of information legislators receive about the effectiveness of industrial development agencies.

“IDAs have been around since 1969, and since that time, they have offered billions of dollars of incentives large multi-national corporations,” Ryan wrote in his legislative justification. “The only data the state receives regarding job creation and economic benefits as a result of IDA activity is self-reported by the corporations, and their exact effectiveness in this area is unknown.

 

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Rather than simply advocate for additional state aid, Ryan wants to see PILOT payments no longer include school taxes.

“The past two years have been very challenging for students and educators alike. New York state is experiencing a teacher shortage, and many schools lack the resources to attract and retain educators,” Ryan wrote in his legislative justification. “State officials have estimated that NYS will need 180,000 new teachers in the next decade. This bill proposes a simple means of increasing funding to school districts. While the impact of IDAs remains largely unknown, we cannot overstate the importance of education and the impact of good teachers and a strong school district. Preventing IDAs from waiving school taxes will have a massive impact on our state’s children, and the amount of money is negligible to the large, multi-national corporations that benefit from agreements with IDAs.”

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