Occupy the ECIDA

In order to dissuade Occupy Buffalo from “creating a disturbance”, which is newspeak for “exercising their first amendment right to free speech in front of a public entity”, the Erie County Sheriff’s office overloaded the library auditorium with Deputies.

Occupy Buffalo issued the following on its site:

Slumlord Carl Paladino has a net worth of $150 million, and yet he wants more taxpayer money so he can make a profit by turning his dilapidated Greystone Manor into an upscale apartment building that none of us could ever afford to live in. Moreover, once the renovations are done, no further jobs will be created from this endeavor. It is all about Paladino making a profit at the taxpayers’ expense.

If you want to know more about where your taxes go, then come to this meeting and find out. Occupy the economy!

Also, please be aware that armed security may be present at this meeting. This is the reality in which we live. They try to instill fear in us with the threat of violence. But it will not deter us from pursuing truth and justice.

The jobs created by these tax breaks are temporary construction jobs.

The ECIDA meetings – during which politically well-connected people decide how other politically well-connected people get to spend public money – do not provide for public comment. The public hearing on the matter took place on April 9th, during which people were permitted to speak. So, when the Erie County IDA votes to give multimillionaire land speculator Carl Paladino hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales and mortgage tax breaks – incentives that cost the people money – the people are required to sit silently. We don’t get to vote for the ECIDA members, and we get to comment only in a limited way.

Occupy is active as the lobbyists for regular people who are undeserved by this rudderless system of myriad IDAs, which seldom develop anything industrial, and who regularly poach WNY businesses from one WNY community to another. If we had one regional IDA, which sought to attract business and people from outside WNY, that would be great. So would an ida scheme that didn’t routinely substitute “residential” or “hospitality” for “industrial.” Occupy took similar action recently at the Clarence IDA, which has come under harsh state criticism for its practices.

It would appear that something is desperately wrong with that sort of system. Thanks to Occupy Buffalo for attending these meetings and questioning the ECIDA’s policy of subsidizing projects that generate few, if any, permanent jobs and likely would be completed anyway.

20 comments

  • It is important for law enforcement to be present at meetings like this.  Their presence, reported heavily by the media, gives the general public a sense that the Occupy movement is inherently violent, dangerous, “not like us”, and something from which public officials need protection.  By their very presence, the Sheriff’s Deputies create the sense of threat that they are there to counter. 

    • nigga pleeeaaze! You must be a direct result of suburban living. Puke!

      • I was born and raised in the City of Buffalo proper; and still live here.  The Occupiers in Buffalo have yet to be demonstrated as violent, or dangerous.

        •  Alan said:

          “I’d be willing to let a regional IDA do big deals, and let some other
          entity do smaller-scale deals, but we have to stop giving handouts to
          shit and stop harming one place to help another.”

          —————————————————————-

          Yet Alan made a statement about a sale tax free zone in Buffalo.   So what is it? It’s ok to harm one place of business by giving another place of business an advantage by not having to charge sales tax? 

          • These two scenarios are fundamentally different: 

            1. Give money to a company in exchange for it moving from, say, Tonawanda to Hamburg; vs. 

            2. Setting up an economic condition that attracts any willing company to take advantage of it. 

  • Umm, the “occupiers” are violent. Don’t try to BS me. Anyone who says they are not is one of them. Or a Union thug. All of you Libbys get ready. the tide is changing. your BS will NOT be tolerated any more. We are right next to you. Look around you. See that guy you tink is going to stand with you when tshtf? WRONG a-hole! PUKE!

    Barf!!!
    you all will…………………………………………………………………………go down.

    • Really?  Last I checked, the BPD was very happy with how the Occupiers were acting, and treating the area; and then suddenly, they were evicted from the Public Square…

      But, I must ask, what BS are you referring to? I hope you are referring to the BS of government transferring wealth from the lower 98% to the upper 2%…

  • This is great, thanks for the update.

    I’m trying to wrap my head around a little dissonance here: On one hand you have “the Erie County IDA votes to give… incentives that cost the people money” but then “If we had one regional IDA, which sought to attract business and people from outside WNY, that would be great.”

    So is it your opinion that it’s okay to give out incentives that cost people money as long as there’s just one of those entities and “the people” get more say in the matter? Is that the same “the people” whom you get (correctly) angry at when they’re vocal enough to make ECHDC start crowdsourcing silly ideas?

    Don’t get me wrong, I hate that Paladino begs for cash and we all end up paying him to employ some construction guys part-time, but why is that worse than infrastructure projects that also just employ some construction guys part-time? Is it because Paladino gets some profit out of the deal?

    I’m just trying to figure out why some of these hand-outs are okay and others are not. The only thing I can think of is that you approve of some and (again, correctly) loathe Horse Pornadino.

    Sometimes we hate politically connected people getting taxpayer cash, sometimes we don’t. Almond Joy’s got nuts, Mounds don’t!

    • It has nothing to do with Carl, although he is something of the embodiment of what passes for crony capitalism in this town. The point is that the IDAs are set up to do three things, presumably: 1. develop our regional industry; 2. attract businesses and jobs to this region from other regions; and 3. help businesses create jobs. 

      Yet far too often, because of who’s on the IDAs, and because of how many we have, we get handouts of public money to fund projects that 1. aren’t industrial, but are residential or hospitality-driven; 2. don’t create many – if any – jobs; 3. poach existing WNY businesses from one WNY community to another WNY community (re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, so to speak); and 4. contribute to an overall leaderless, unplanned, reckless and feckless disunity when it comes to attracting jobs and business to the region. I think the people should have more say in the matter. I think the process should be as transparent as possible. I think that the IDAs should be prevented from giving handouts to buddies, and instead analyze each proposal and approve those which don’t do harm to existing businesses in the area. I think that there should be exactly one, overarching regional Industrial Development Agency covering the 8 counties of western New York, because the goal shouldn’t be to move Premier Liquors from Tonawanda to Amherst. The goal should be to attract Volkswagen to build a factory here instead of Chattanooga. 

      I’d be willing to let a regional IDA do big deals, and let some other entity do smaller-scale deals, but we have to stop giving handouts to shit and stop harming one place to help another. 

      It would also be wicked helpful if our idiotic excuse for a chamber of commerce didn’t simultaneously decry public spending, and then ask for handouts for pet projects. It’d be great if they didn’t simultaneously tell businesses and people how great it is in WNY while simultaneously operating a lobbying outfit that telegraphs how dysfunctional and horrific it is to do business in WNY. 

      You know, basic shit. 

      • This, like times 1000 here.

        Developing business-scape is one thing, that keeps on generating money, year after year.Developing upscale residential generates money once, and that is at the time of sale. And, right now, I doubt the are could recoup the 1.4 million we are handing Paladino.

        And, to top it all off:  Carl Paladino is the one who was stumping for “Less Government Spending!”

      • Alan “It has nothing to do with Carl, although he is something of the embodiment of what passes for crony capitalism in this town.”

        ————————————

        ECIDA approves Millennium incentive package Monday, March 26, 2012

        http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/news/2012/03/26/ecida-approves-millennium-incetive.html

        “After the Millennium fine tuned its request and further explained the
        impact of their project, Poloncarz agreed to support to request. ”

        ———————————-

        So where is your blog post pointing mark poloncarz approving and being involved in more of this crony capitalism? Or is it only crony capitalism if it is Carl?

        • Nowhere. 

          Because the purpose of this post isn’t just to criticize the ECIDA, but also the Sheriff’s Department for its ridiculous security overkill.  Also, if you read the article to which you linked, Poloncarz approved the  Millenium deal while imposing a moratorium on similar handouts, and expressing reservations about it. 

          And in case you’re wondering, Poloncarz and Leg Chairwoman Grant both voted against the Greystone handout. 

          I know, Tony – you’re a big fan of Carl and crony capitalism, except when you’re not.  (Same with Rus Thompson – ask how much he got from the ECIDA (including Chris Collins & Mr. Jane Corwin) for his cement mixing company. Must be nice to make exactly the right friends.) 

          • I think all ida’s should go away.  They mask the issue we have in NYS.  Over spending which leads to high taxes.   I don’t believe in given one business a competitive edge over another in our community.  When they were discussing Bass Pro my opinion was why crap on the existing business in our area that cater to the same client base.

            I really don’t have an issue with one shot breaks (taxes that would have never been collected in the first place) to offset some of the cost of rehabing older buildings. Property/school taxes should be paid in the full like everyone else pays.

            I also don’t have an issue with some tax breaks to bring in a LARGE type company into our community. One that doesn’t compete with any existing business already here.  Like a company that manufacturers something that isn’t being made here. 

            Did Rus get a physical grant? I don’t approve of that at all.

  • Even more tax dollars wasted on ECIDA.  How much were those officers paid to stand about, and do nothing?

    Nothing more important for EC Sheriffs to do, you know, like patrol county roads?

  • Incentives that encourage redevelopment of formerly obsolete properties are a smart use of public funding.  More people living downtown, one less blighted building, and a big demolition bill averted. 

    I think too many people are getting caught up in who is involved in this project and not considering the long term benifits of adaptive reuse programs. 

  • If it is wrong for Paladino to receive ECIDA help in order to turn a profit, is it also wrong for Termini to receive assistance to turn a profit at the Lafayette?  Is profit the problem? Or, is the person making a profit the problem?  Is Termini OK because his customer base could be different than Paladino’s?  Won’t upscale (things the average person can’t afford) living units be more likely to have a positive economic impact on the surrounding area than low income housing, as proposed in part by our CE?

  • Not to take sides on this issue but by nature all construction jobs are temporary.  That should not make them invalid.  Each temporary construction job adds up to many people in WNY being full time employed in the construction industry (architects too   🙂 ).    

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