#Editorial #OurVoice #ColonieIDA #GalesiGroup #Ayco #GoldmanSachs #JimFranco #SpotlightNews
The only people to blame are the ones who did it first.
Once a governmental body offered a corporation or developer incentives to move within their boundaries, the game was essentially over.
But there is only one thing we like to see happen less than giving multi-billion companies incentives, and that is seeing a company like Ayco build its headquarters somewhere else.
Ayco might not be a household name, but its parent company, Goldman Sachs, certainly is. According to a profile in Forbes Magazine, the investment bank manages $1.35 trillion worth of assets for corporations, financial institutions, governments and really rich people around the world and in 2017 reported $32.1 billion of revenue.
Those kinds of numbers are incomprehensible. And nearly laughable when compared to the measly $12 million in economic incentives Ayco is asking from the town’s Industrial Development Agency.
But, it’s not really Goldman Sachs asking for the incentives, and the brunt of them are not even for Ayco. It’s the Galesi Group, a local developer with a proven track record, that is doing the asking. Not that it has shallow pockets, mind you. President and CEO David Buicko told the IDA it had done more than $1 billion worth of development all over the country and abroad.
So why should Colonie — a town with stable finances but one in as precarious a position as any upstate New York municipality — give corporations like those any money at all?
The answer is simple, really — if Colonie doesn’t, the other guy will.
The other guy did. The developers say there were a couple score of courters for the new Ayco headquarters. Who knows how many there really were, but safe to say if there were three, they all offered similar incentives that are on the table now in Colonie.
The counter to that point is simple too — let ’em.
There is enough development going on — too much in the minds of some — our taxes are stable, our schools are solid, our parks are great, our infrastructure is getting upgraded. We don’t need Goldman or Sachs or Ayco or their bags of money.
But, a glance at the economic impact study commissioned by the IDA is enough to give pause.
The Payment in Lieu of Taxes component currently in front of the IDA is a 10-year deal starting with total town, county and school tax bill of $106,509 in year one that gets progressively larger until maxing out at $1 million in year 10.
The company would pay more than $6.5 million over the 10-year period including $4.8 million to the North Colonie School District, just more than $1 million to the county and $685,719 to the town.
Without the project or the PILOT, the site as is would generate a total of $304,230 over the same 10-year period including $223,465 to the school district, $48,094 to the county and $32,671 to the town.
The other exemptions requested, like sales and mortgage tax, really don’t cost the town anything because, we all know what 0 percent of 0 is — yes, the amount of money coming in from those two taxes now.
Also, the company says it will consolidate 626 employees, most of whom are already working in Colonie, and add another 160, well-paying, financial sector jobs. Of course, the town will have to act on faith to a degree, but there are some safeguards. If the company doesn’t meet the promised numbers, for example, some or all of the incentives go away.
And that is not including the ancillary jobs like those in construction to build the place and those smaller businesses around the project selling food, coffee and merchandise to the employees.
There are some downsides. The traffic at the intersection of Routes 9 and 9R is brutal and even with the connector road bifurcating the site, it will just get worse. Some, not all, of that can and will be mitigated. The rest will not. The “do not disturb wetlands” are too worthy of note.
But they and other design concerns are not in front of the IDA. They are best left for the Planning Board to deliberate as the project works its way through the process.
In the end, we urge the IDA to hold the town’s nose and grant Galesi and Ayco the incentives currently on the table. And then do everything in its power to make sure Ayco follows through with its end of the deal and does create and/or retain the number of jobs it promised.