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Rich Get Richer Thanks to IDA Corporate Welfare

By Mike Hudson

Welfare for the rich is alive and thriving.

Here in Niagara Falls, it’s not at all unusual to be on welfare. With a per capita income of around $18,000 a year, the sight of a young woman wearing pajamas and pushing a baby carriage down Portage Road with a pocketful of food stamps and a boyfriend in prison is all too common.

It’s a way of life.

But many of our city’s largest welfare recipients live in Buffalo, or Lewiston or Youngstown or DeVeaux and drive late model BMW’s or Cadillacs. Because instead of getting their welfare checks from the county Department of Social Services, they get their dole from the county’s Industrial Development Agency.

The people taking the money are creeps and drips who know more about scamming the system than they do about running a business. They take the money, your money, and then they wonder about how to spend it.

The theory behind the IDA - and its’ related agencies like the city’s Economic Development Department - is to regularly hand out millions of dollars in tax breaks, assistance and cold hard cash to well-heeled nincompoops who apparently have business plans so awful they can’t get banks or private investors to back them.

Third Street is littered with them.

It’s simple, really.

An honest businessman will never take a dime from the state or the county or the city, which means he won't take a dime of your money because the only money the state or the county or the city has is yours. It would be creepy to take your money.

And since taxes are taken not by polite request but by force, the corporate welfare recipient is really enabling the government to force you to work harder and longer and then take it away from you to give it to him. Even if he takes a tax free status that you don’t get- you didn't get tax free PILOT on your home did you? You have to pay for the services that they use.

Of course corporate welfare comes in large or small sizes.

A lot of businesses, especially in Niagara County, from bars, restaurants and heavy industries, refuse to open unless bureaucrats cough up some cash which they get from you, the taxpayer. It’s a lousy thing.

“The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency has been a catalyst in assisting companies to not only stay in the region but also to expand their operations as well as our efforts to bring in new investment,” said Scott Kiedrowski, who is the head of the IDA and also the Chairman of the Niagara County Republican party. “We are proud of our work and look forward to continuing to help Niagara County grow and prosper.”

If Niagara County was actually growing and prospering, all would be well and good. But it isn’t. It’s shrinking and it is going broke.

The IDA in Niagara County handed out a total of nearly $147.5 million between 2008 and 2011. The reason your taxes are so high is because these people aren’t paying any taxes at all.

A company called Covanta Niagara recently got a 15-year tax abatement deal worth millions from the IDA to bring garbage from New York City here. They burn it out in LaSalle, pollute the air, and claim they’re making “energy,” which is the kind of green industry Mayor Paul Dyster strongly supports.

Environmentalist Amy Hope Witryol spoke out against the company’s expansion at last week’s City Council meeting.

“The planning board and DEC, from my view have both a legal and moral obligation to consider the bigger picture before sentencing LaSalle residents to another day or even another 30 years of incinerating garbage,” she said.

Covanta Energy, the parent firm of Covanta Niagara, is owned by a number of billion-dollar, multinational corporations including Citibank, Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim. Why they should be asking the people of the impoverished Niagara County for a handout is anybody’s guess.

Welfare for the rich.

Dyster, the IDA and other bureaucrats who generally control what goes on in Niagara Falls and its’ environs generally think that paying people to come and live or do business here is a good idea. The alternative, they think, is to house sex offenders and other undesirables, get paid by the state or federal government, and meet expenses.

Meanwhile, Niagara Falls is arguably the highest-taxed municipality in the nation if you look at the studies by the Tax Foundation of Washington, D.C. That’s what keeps business away, that’s why there are no jobs. There are opportunities, but you have to compete with outfits like Covanta, which pay no taxes at all.

Great deal, if you can get it.

You can get in on the scam of course, suck up to Paul Dyster or some other two-bit politician, contribute to their campaigns, get a meeting and open and close your business in six months, walking away with a couple hundred grand or maybe more.

It happens all the time.

Here at the Niagara Falls Reporter, we don’t believe in that. We believe that if you have a good idea and you work really hard, you’ll have your success, and you don’t have to ask anyone, especially the government, for handouts.

It wouldn’t even occur to us to ask a government agency for money. We’re just not built that way. It’s alien to us.

And we feel sorry for those young women wearing pajamas and pushing a baby carriage down Portage Road with a pocketful of food stamps and a boyfriend in prison.

They really can’t help it, they made bad decisions when they were young, were brought up in a poor environment or were just stupid.

But we don’t feel sorry for Citibank, Morgan Stanley or the other creeps and drips who have created this desperate situation here. We don’t feel sorry for the IDA or Mayor Paul Dyster or anyone else who profits on the misery of others.

For them, really, we have nothing but contempt.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

AUG 20, 2013