Niagara Gazette

Bob Confer

May 20, 2014

CONFER: Economic cannibalism: developers eat their own

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — This sort of economic cannibalism, in which economic developers sacrifice their own to bring in the next big deal, is not unique to Confer Plastics.

Consider everything state officials did to bring silicone and chip manufacturer GlobalFoundries to the town of Malta. In 2008-09, at the height of the Great Recession and while the state was facing a $15 billion budget gap, New York officials brokered a $1.3 billion incentive package for them, of which $650 million was cold hard cash.

This gave them a distinct advantage over other New York-based plants and it put the burden of funding the deal on New York taxpayers and businesses across all sectors who were attempting to survive not only the recession, but decades of malaise in New York. While GlobalFoundries grew, it was done on the backs of others.

Also ponder what’s brokered at the local level across the state, where over the past 20 years we’ve seen a stark transformation of Industrial Development Agencies. Originally created in the late-1960s to ease the tax and regulatory burden on manufacturers (hence the “industrial” moniker) who compete across state lines and need help to stay competitive with the Ohios and Chinas of the world, the 113 IDAs have deviated from their original intent and now grant, in volume, tax breaks to retail projects (automotive lots, hotels, malls and more) who aren’t competing out-of-state, but instead are competing directly with businesses in their neighborhoods and nearby towns and cities.

The direct outcomes of those practices are two-fold. First, well-established retailers and hotels lose clients (and therefore revenues and employees) because their costs to do business (sales taxes, property taxes) are much higher than the competitors granted favor. Secondly, neighboring counties end up stealing companies and/or jobs from one another and never really create them when looked at from a regional standpoint.

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Bob Confer
  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: It's time the U.S. stopped giving aid to Israel When you see some of the atrocities that Israel has committed in Gaza, including last week's bombing of a United Nations school that was being used as a civilian emergency shelter, you should really wonder why we count them as an ally and why we devote so much of our financial and political resources to the scoundrels.

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  • NIA Confer, Bob mug CONFER: A constitutional convention is not the answer For the past few years it has been popular for folks of the right persuasion (Republicans and neoconservatives) to call for a constitutional convention ("Con-Con") in hopes of passing a balanced budget amendment (BBA.) A lot of people have jumped on that bandwagon; no doubt your email inbox or Facebook news feeds have shown that.

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  • NIA Confer, Bob mug CONFER: Health care vouchers would really help our veterans When sending off our men and women to fight for our defense or interests abroad where they face the barrel of a gun or travel along bomb-strewn roads as a course of their daily duties, it only makes sense that upon their return we give our warriors some sort of reward, since most of them are paid peanuts for the risks they take.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: Looking north to those living the Canadian dream Wikipedia defines the American Dream as "a national ethos of the United States, a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work."

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: America has a trucking crisis Because a Hollywood star was critically injured in an accident caused by a tractor trailer, the public conversation has turned to road safety and how big trucks fit into that equation. Never mind that beyond Tracy Morgan's high-profile crash there are 500,000 accidents with tractor trailers every year in which an average of 11 people die each day.

    June 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug CONFER: Don't expand bear hunting in New York A couple of weeks ago some folks were lucky enough to see a black bear in the town of Pendleton. The news and social media were all abuzz over the sighting, just as they were in the summer of 2009 when a lone black bear stayed in the county for quite some time. Niagara County residents were then, as they are now, hoping to catch a glimpse of an awesome beast that is an infrequent visitor to our region.

    June 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: Suffering from constitutional selectivity It's a real treat when our citizens come out in numbers and with passion in the defense of one of our rights, just as they did - and still do - with the NY-SAFE Act.

    May 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: Economic cannibalism: developers eat their own It's not often that you'll find me celebrating the loss of an economic development project that would have created 200 jobs in Western New York. But, I did just that a few weeks ago when a deal to bring a Toronto-based plastics manufacturer to the Buffalo waterfront fell through at the eleventh hour.

    May 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer mug 051214 CONFER: All of Niagara County should say 'no' to CWM expansion CWM Chemical Services maintains a 710-acre facility in the towns of Lewiston and Porter for the treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous and industrial non-hazardous wastes. Wastes accepted at this facility are disposed of in an on-site landfill (known as RMU-1) or shipped to another facility for further processing and disposal.

    May 13, 2014 2 Photos

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    May 6, 2014 1 Photo

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