As taxpaying citizens, we expect accountability from all governmental agencies that serve the public. This is especially true when public money is given away under a broad banner of job creation and job retention.
According to a recent News article on local economic development, the Erie County Industrial Development Agency and other local sister agencies will give away $45 million in public subsidies to create only 65 news jobs. What is more appalling is that the officials of these agencies are not held accountable for distribution of our money.
At the present time, companies applying for tax abatements do not have to prove that they will create new jobs. Once they receive the money, they are not obligated to return it. This scheme smells of corporate welfare. In addition, members of the boards of directors of the IDAs, with few exceptions, have for too long rubber-stamped projects presented to them. Time has proven that many projects did not warrant public subsidies because they did not create new jobs as promised.
To correct this situation, many states now require corporations to report the number of actual jobs created, not the number of jobs promised. Businesses must return subsidies if they fail to meet their obligations.
W. JOHN KOZINSKI