Under a Tuesday-released Senate plan, the state would appoint one or two monitors to supervise and potentially overturn tax benefits that the Orange County Economic Development Agency awards to corporations.
State Senator James Skoufis of Orange County created the monitor proposal and snuck it into the Senate’s response to Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget. In the next weeks, Senate and Assembly leaders will work with the Hochul administration to draft a budget for the fiscal year that begins on April 1.
Skoufis, a Democrat from Cornwall, has long questioned property tax cuts authorized by Orange County’s small agency and its chosen governing board. The board gives these and other tax credits to encourage corporations to establish or expand operations in Orange, and Skoufis has criticized perks he deemed excessive or unneeded – to the detriment of local taxpayers.
The proposal of a state monitor with veto authority escalates this battle.
“If the IDA refuses to act in good faith to defend the public interest, the state must intervene to protect taxpayers.” “he stated in a Tuesday statement. “I will not remain apathetic when the IDA annually picks the wallets of Orange County people.”
The executive director of the IDA, Bill Fioravanti, responded by accusing Skoufis of conducting a political stunt “to produce dramatic headlines and to portray himself as a hero by slandering this perfectly transparent public organization and the wonderful people who manage it.”
Simply put, what Senator Skoufis is doing is a shame, said Fioravanti in a statement.