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Scotia Industrial Park risks losing Empire Zone status

More than 500 businesses across the state are at risk of losing their Empire Zone status, including the Scotia Industrial Park, which is owned by the Galesi Group. Businesses had until Tuesday, July 21, to file a revocation appeal.

The state is kind of judging projects and saying, 'You have to meet certain criteria to stay in the program,' said Ray Gillen, chairman of Schenectady Metroplex.

New York's Empire Zone program was created to stimulate economic growth through tax incentives designed to attract new businesses to New York and enable existing businesses to expand and create more jobs. To participate in the Empire Zones Program, a business must first be located in an Empire Zone or qualify as a regionally significant project and become zone certified. To qualify for certification, a business must be able to demonstrate that it will create new jobs or make investments in the Empire Zone and be consistent with the local zone's development plan, including a cost-benefit analysis, according to the Empire Zone Designation Board's Web site.

For example, for every dollar the incentive provides a business, businesses must match the incentive with at least a dollar. Gillen and Dave Buicko, chief operating officer of the Galesi Group, said they believe the Scotia Industrial Park has a strong case in its appeal.

"In the Scotia Industrial Park, for every dollar in incentives [they have received], the developer has invested over $55 dollars. It's a 55-to-1 ratio. It's a very strong case," said Gillen. "The owners of the park have shown a major investment and commitment to that park and well in excess to what the state requires. We hope that when the state looks at this they'll wind up approving it and moving forward."

There are also three new grounds for decertification, according to the Empire Zone's Designation Board.

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