There’s a rumor Dick’s Sporting Goods is coming to Batavia. Already, residents are wary of giving the developer tax breaks for the project. Another sporting goods store owner said it wouldn’t be fair. The Batavian reports:
That isn’t scaring at least two local retailers who sell some of the same merchandise as Dick’s, but the local owners are unhappy that a giant corporation like Dick’s could benefit from any tax incentives given to COR.
Mike Barrett likened the practice of using tax incentives going to corporate chains to “using your own tax money to put yourself out of business.”
The whole thing might be a moot point. The just-passed state budget restricts when industrial development agencies can hand out tax breaks to retail projects. The Buffalo News reports projects must be tourist destinations, in an economically distressed area or provide services and goods that are not available in the area.
This is a good thing, because retail projects are not good economic development tools. Tax breaks create an unequal playing field. The jobs created are usually low-wage and part time. The sales tax estimates assume people wouldn’t be spending their money elsewhere in the community. It also shouldn’t be assumed that because more stores open, residents suddenly have more money to spend. Finally, unless these projects are in seriously disadvantaged places, many would have happened anyway.
Think of all of the Rochester retail projects that have gotten mega-tax breaks, including Greece Ridge Mall, College Town and Tops. These developments may not have qualified under the state’s new rules. That’s as it should be.
Links of the Day:
– Jim Boeheim’s suits are made by Adrian Jules in Rochester. The clothier puts in orange lining.
– Monroe County schools get a combined $157 million from the state lottery system.
– New York City preservationists are not happy cobblestone streets are being replaced with more bicycle-friendly surfaces.