Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: Watchmen
Next story: Tyson coming to Buffalo with more baggage

The jig is up

The Amherst IDA has a pot of gold.

It’s a big one. And it’s filled with our money. Every month or so for a substantial entry fee, the IDA allows developers and other business owners access to this treasure chest. And lets them help themselves. Come on down. The IDA asks few questions of these purloiners of the people’s gold.

These gold plated projects are supposed to create jobs, but many don’t. And the takers are only supposed to seize our gold IF it is the final missing piece of their financing. But that doesn’t happen either.

Amherst IDA has been successful in maintaining a mask of complexity surrounding their “economic development activities.” Their unique lexicon provides a backdrop for their fancy dance of ruse and obfuscation and gives the appearance that they are the masters of high finance and we are the rubes. Like Inducement resolution or installment sales or bond financing, sale/leaseback, equity raise or tax increment financing. All multi-syllabic phrases not part of a commoner’s vernacular but each having the same effect—shifting the tax bill from the select few IDA beneficiaries to the remaining residential and commercial taxpayers county wide. Make no mistake. The Amherst IDA’s shenanigans cost the taxpayers big in Amherst, but Clarence, Tonawanda and Buffalo homeowners are paying too.

So guess what IDAs. The jig is up. The cat is out of the bag. We get it. And any honest candid imbibing developer or owner will tell you that no deal is contingent upon tax benefits from the IDA. The decisions about profit and return on investment are made without consideration for tax savings. IDA bestowed benefits are all gravy, money in developers’ pockets. Just look for one of the staffers from any big developer at the bar in Cole’s. Buy ‘em a drink. Ask them yourself.

But be careful. And don’t smile. They might just pick the gold from your teeth.

Michele F. Marconi, Amherst

blog comments powered by Disqus