Assemblywoman Jane Corwin told the Town Board Wednesday that she will fight against a bill to require changes in the operations of the state's 116 industrial development agencies.
Corwin, R-Clarence, visited the board meeting as part of the political newcomer's effort to make the rounds of the 142nd District, which elected her in November.
Supervisor Marc R. Smith brought up the question of the IDA bill sponsored by Assemblyman Sam Hoyt and State Sen. Antoine M. Thompson, both D-Buffalo.
Among many other changes, it requires any business receiving an IDA tax break to pay the local prevailing wage, usually a union wage, to all of its employees.
David R. Kinyon, the town's economic development coordinator and executive director of the town IDA, told the agency board last Thursday he wants the IDA to take part in a statewide ad blitz against the Hoyt-Thompson bill.
"We're dead-set against [the bill]," Smith told Corwin. "It just seems like it's just so regressive. If it goes through, there won't be any IDAs left in New York State."
"I agree with you," Corwin answered. "Essentially, it makes no sense. They're proposing prevailing wage, which would [cancel out] any tax benefits from IDAs."
The town officials, all Republicans, lobbied Corwin on several other issues. Town Clerk Nancy A. Brooks spoke against a bill in Albany that would abolish elected town clerks, highway superintendents and assessors and make all such town officers appointees.
Town Attorney Daniel E. Seaman said that bill was a hot topic at the annual Association of Towns convention in New York City last week. He said referendums to do away with town elected officials usually fail, and he said such a reform idea from "downstate legislators who have no concept of town government is very depressing."
Smith said he would like to see the town's infrastructure projects for the Transit North corridor funded through the federal stimulus money, which is to be doled out by state officials.
The package includes new roads and utilities in the town industrial park, but the big-ticket item is relocation of a town water main, which runs beneath the northbound lanes of South Transit Road. Smith also wants to see improvements to the look and amenities of the commercial strip, including a 700-foot traffic median and wireless Internet capability.
Corwin said, "I thought of Transit North right away, as soon as they started talking stimulus."
Although it's part of Niagara County's stimulus request, Smith said, "We got some resistance on it. . . . It was called 'gingerbread, a candy project.' I thought, 'Wow, they don't get it.' Putting a bridge in is not going to drive economic development."