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.