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9:00 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Press Pass: No end in sight for development tax breaks

The tax breaks issued for Uniland's plan for a mixed-use complex at Delaware and Chippewa has touched off a community debate over the issue. While some legislators are clamoring for an end to development tax abatements, Business First's Jim Fink doesn't see that happening anytime soon.

WBFO'S Jay Moran & Jim Fink in studio.
Credit WBFO News file photo

Jim Fink of Business First examines local issues on WBFO's Press Pass.

"We're nowhere near that point. I wish we were," Fink said during WBFO's Press Pass Monday morning.

"Here's the reality. Every community offers some form of tax abatements or incentives."

The development will be home to the new corporate headquarters for Delaware North, which is also receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax incentives for the move. While critics have assailed the  package, Fink believes the Buffalo-based company offers a fair return by staying in the city.

"Over the 20-year period Delaware North's impact, (Deputy County Executive) Rich Tobe figured out, is close to $1 billion," Fink said.

"That's huge."

Another lingering issue, crossing delays at the Peace Bridge, has grabbed the attention of Senator Charles Schumer. Schumer wants the inspection booths at the bridge fully staffed in order to avoid the increasing delays for those crossing into the United States.

"The Senator is not wrong on this. He's spot on, actually," said Fink who believes Schumer could team with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins to make a difference on the matter.

"Use your clout in Washington to change this. Pressure the Customs and Border Protection Agency to properly staff those borders. It's hurting our economy," Fink said.