In 1969, New York State legislation was enacted providing for the creation of Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) to facilitate economic development in specific areas, giving the IDAs status as public benefit corporations.
The number of IDAs has fluctuated over time, and presently there are 115 active IDAs, with one in each of New York State’s counties, as well as a number of cities, towns and villages. In the Buffalo Niagara Region there are several IDAs including:
- Erie County
- Town of Amherst
- Town of Lancaster
- Town of Hamburg
- Niagara County
- Town of Lockport
- Town of Niagara
To improve economic conditions in their respective areas, IDAs generally work to attract, retain and expand businesses within their jurisdictions through financial incentives to private entities. IDAs are legally empowered to buy, sell or lease property and to provide tax exempt financing for approved projects.
Real property owned or controlled by IDAs is exempt from property and mortgage recording taxes, and the value of these exemptions can be passed through to assisted businesses. In addition, purchases related to IDA projects can be exempt from State and local sales taxes.
While IDA properties are tax exempt, businesses occupying IDA-owned properties typically make payments in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOTs) that are shared with the local governments within their area.