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Letter: IDA agreement benefits Erie County and FedEx

IDA agreement benefits Erie County and FedEx

It is a mischaracterization to say the Erie County Industrial Development Agency board “looked the other way” regarding the FedEx jobs retention agreement (“Taking back tax breaks from companies can be messy,” Feb. 3 News.)

The original agreement required FedEx to add 70 new jobs and retain 168 for the length of the PILOT term. The revised agreement now requires FedEx to maintain an additional 603 permanent jobs, for a total of 771 for the length of the PILOT term. We required a new, higher jobs threshold without offering a higher incentive, which is far beyond looking the other way.

FedEx has two specific locations in the same town, and its request was to include new jobs added at both of these two facilities, not “across the region,” as reported in the story. After thorough discussion, our Policy Committee recommended to the ECIDA board that the proximity of the two facilities and the retention requirement for all jobs at both facilities was sufficient to continue the incentives. The board majority agreed.

Job retention is often overlooked in favor of the splashier headline of new jobs, but as Buffalo has experienced too often, jobs lost can be even more devastating to our economy.

Our recapture process is absolutely not arbitrary, but one size does not fit all. In each situation, the ECIDA board must seek the proper fiduciary balance between our responsibility to the taxing jurisdiction and our mission to incentivize business growth in Erie County. Every case is unique. Our recapture policy guidelines allow for these considerations.

By working diligently and fairly with FedEx, 771 jobs are secured and FedEx is encouraged to grow further in Western New York. That is a win for Erie County.

Steve Weathers

ECIDA President and CEO

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