The people opposing tax breaks for Costco talked about bats, birds, and butterflies

To the Editor:
I attended the May 31 meeting of the Guilderland Industrial Development Agency, where two public hearings on both the tax incentives for the Costco build and the transfer of the streets to Costco (eminent domain) for the site were held.

I know I have written about this before, but I am still astounded at the public comments of attendees that had nothing to do with tax incentives made by people who don’t even live in Guilderland.  The people opposing the tax breaks from the IDA talked about bats, birds, butterflies, and “businesses” maybe going out of business.

In addition, misinformation on what we should be doing with the money instead of the IDA’s tax incentives was confusing.  Feeding the poor, helping the panhandlers and homeless people were some suggestions, as if the IDA has a choice on its actual purpose, or as if the money is coming directly from these services’ budgets.

The public comments supporting the tax breaks and eminent domain by people the project directly impacts talked specifically about the added sales tax, jobs, and school and property tax Costco will bring.  The 114 letters posted online (as of the writing of this) were overwhelmingly in support of the IDA giving tax incentives as well.

The most refreshing part of the evening was a report by a company on the impact analysis facts, just the facts! Over 100 direct jobs and 150 indirect jobs created for Costco and businesses supporting it, average salary of $60,000 a year, sales of $180 million a year adding to our county and local tax base, and school and property tax base.

I sincerely wish the Guilderland IDA board good luck on this endeavor; the people from the city of Albany and Troy who spoke at the meeting are going to be very mad if the Guilderland IDA chooses to fulfill its mission and brings a store that will benefit the whole region.

Kathy Burbank


Editor’s note: See related story, “Pyramid says: No Costco without IDA breaks.”

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