Occupy Buffalo has been attending the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA) board meetings for several months. These meetings are used to distribute corporate welfare mostly to companies that are already making a profit for projects that they would do with or without a tax abatement (tax break).
On 2/13 we made the local news for multiple mic checks which demanded an immediate moratorium on all tax abatement deals until the ECIDA holds a town hall meeting to create a process for evaluating which companies qualify for tax incentives. We would like to discuss terms for these tax incentives which would hold companies accountable if they do not create the number of jobs promised. Furthermore, we would like to see clawback clauses written into these deals which would require a payback of all tax incentives if a company abandons the area after getting one of these tax breaks. This would ensure that the taxpayers of Erie County, NY are not shortchanged when a company leaves town.
Our direct action at the ECIDA contributed to the tabling of a $275,000 tax break for the $5.5 million renovation of the Millennium Hotel.
Watch video of the first mic check: