Senate Passes Reforms to Industrial Development Agencies

The New York State Senate acted to reform Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) across New York State. This legislation will increase accountability and transparency in the IDA process, prevent intra-state piracy, eliminate conflicts of interest, require notice of IDA projects, prohibit certain persons from receiving compensation, allow the public to access and inspect information, and support the preservation of regionally significant projects.

In March of 2019, Senator James Skoufis, Chair of the Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, opened an investigation into the compliance and practices of public authorities, including Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs), across New York State. The Committee issued information and document requests to 143 public authorities including state authorities, local authorities, industrial development agencies, and local development corporations. In 2019, the Senate Majority advanced legislation that was signed into law to require IDAs to live stream and post video recordings of open meetings and public hearings. This legislation builds upon those findings to improve accountability and transparency for New York taxpayers.

“These IDA reforms will help build greater transparency to ensure communities are receiving the maximum benefit from their investment and that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely,” Senate Majority Leader and President Pro Tempore Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “These reforms support economic development across New York State and stop bad actors from taking advantage of IDA projects. I thank the bill sponsors for working to ensure the IDA process is more transparent and impactful across New York State.”

Bill Sponsor and Chairman of Committee on Investigations and Government Operations Senator James Skoufis, said, “We’ve seen time and again, especially here in the Hudson Valley, how a ‘friendly’ culture of everyday corruption and backroom dealing by local IDAs can undermine real, transformative economic development. For many public authorities and development corporations around the state, ethical leadership just isn't happening, and we must send a strong signal to them that a culture of kickbacks, abuse of the public's tax dollars and trust, and intrastate double-dealing will not be tolerated. New Yorkers deserve better and I am proud to carry the ball forward with my colleagues through this critical slate of legislation.”

Read the Senate Majority Release.

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