Amherst, NY (WBEN) The Amherst Industrial Development Agency has granted $550,000 in tax breaks to attorney William Mattar to expand his law offices in the town. A pair of lawmakers are not happy about it.
Mattar had sought the tax break to knock down a vacant church and build a new call center, creating 20 new jobs. He says the new call center would also have a veterans advocacy group.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz was not happy, neither was Assemblyman Sean Ryan, who both issued statements:
Poloncarz says, “We are very disappointed that the Amherst IDA voted to extend $550,000 in tax breaks to the law offices of William Mattar, a professional service company that should not be receiving incentives for the work they are proposing to do. This vote reflects the gulf that exists between ongoing reforms at the Erie County Industrial Development Agency and the ‘anything goes’ mentality that permeates suburban IDA’s who are determined to do their own thing despite the effects their decisions have on Erie County taxpayers and competing businesses. While the ECIDA is acting to ensure that incentives are given according to stringent guidelines and with rigorous follow up, the Amherst IDA has become the poster child for generously endorsing questionable deals with taxpayer funding. Their actions also ignore the new state law intended to ban or restrain incentives that do not create net new wealth. Erie County remains committed to a uniform IDA policy that is accountable, transparent, and responsible. We call upon the Amherst IDA and its suburban counterparts to change their ways and adopt a uniform development model that consistently scrutinizes each application and awards incentives only to those applicants who will truly benefit the community as a whole.”
Ryan says in his statement, “Once again, the Amherst IDA has found a way to waste our tax dollars on a project that is not even eligible under the policy that all IDAs in Erie County follow. Professional service firms like the Mattar law firm should not be given special tax subsidies to help with office renovations. Today’s action by the Amherst IDA underscores the need to pass comprehensive statewide IDA reform legislation. My legislation, the JOBS Act, will do just that. The JOBS Act will ensure that bad deals are not approved, and increase transparency and accountability for all IDAs in New York.”