Mineola, NY – In a letter dated June 9th to the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency (“NCIDA”), Comptroller George Maragos highlighted the NCIDA’s apparent underperformance in an audit recently released by the State Comptroller and urged an immediate review of existing job creation strategies as well as personnel performance. The New York State Comptroller’s Audit demonstrated that the NCIDA trailed behind Suffolk and Westchester in creating and retaining jobs and awarded bigger tax incentives for each potential job. Comparatively, the NCIDA appears to have created or retained an average of seven jobs per project while Westchester created or retained 87 jobs per project and Suffolk created or retained about 105 jobs per project. The NCIDA believes the State Comptroller results to be an anomaly and stated that updated figures will be provided on Monday, June 15th.“The apparently weak performance of the NCIDA highlights potential deficiencies in its operations” said Comptroller George Maragos. “The County should readjust its performance initiatives and review its strategies to create more jobs with competitive tax incentives.”As shown in Table 1 below, the NCIDA is credited in the State Audit with creating or retaining 1,835 jobs during 2013 by granting $43.3 million in net tax exemptions, or $23,611 per job, with an additional operating expense of $2.5 million.
In comparison, the Suffolk County IDA is credited with creating or retaining a far greater number of jobs with significantly less tax exemptions and at a lower cost. Suffolk created or retained 14,080 jobs by granting only $9.1 million in tax exemptions, or $644 per job, with $1.0 million in Operating Costs. Using these rates, $23,611 in exemptions created one job in Nassau and would have created more than 36 jobs in Suffolk County. Similarly, Westchester County also outperformed Nassau County by creating 7,982 jobs by granting $9.1 million in tax exemptions, or $1,563 per job, with less than $1.0 million in Operating Costs.
These results may have been predictable, as significant deficiencies in its operations and performance were identified in the Nassau County Comptroller’s Audit dated May 3, 2011. That audit revealed that the NCIDA:
• Granted financial assistance to most projects without doing a cost-benefit analysis,• Did not monitor employment projections, and• Demonstrated weakness in accounting, administrative, personnel and internal control practices.
It appears these deficiencies may not have been adequately addressed.
The NCIDA plays an important role in ensuring that our County remains competitive within the region by maintaining and attracting new jobs. It is disappointing that we have fallen behind in job creation. According to New York State Labor Statistics, the County has not fully recovered from its pre-recession employment levels. The County had approximately 18,000 less jobs in 2014 compared to its pre-recession high of 670,000 jobs in 2007. At the same time the national economy has recovered and created an additional 11 million jobs.
“It is also noted that the NCIDA appears to support smaller scale projects with less jobs potential,” said Comptroller George Maragos. “The NCIDA should favor higher quality projects that have the potential to create or retain a higher number of jobs.”