Coalition for Economic Justice Holds Town Hall Meeting on Corporate Subsidies
Amherst, NY— Amherst residents, community leaders, and area politicians participated in a town hall meeting on the impact of economic development programs in Western New York on Sept. 26. Organized by the Coalition for Economic Justice (CEJ) the meeting featured presentations on the costs of Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) to area taxpayers, municipalities, schools, and public services with speakers advocating for reform to improve the performance of these programs.
“Our communities need our job creation programs to create quality jobs,” said Jenn Diagostino, Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Justice. “Throughout Western New York and across the state, economic development programs are spending billions of public dollars each year on projects that are not having a positive impact on our communities or generating a return on the public’s investment.”
Speakers and participants focused on the Amherst IDA and several projects the agency has approved that have faced community opposition, which included the Wyndham Hotel, Hyatt Hotel, and Premiere Wine and Spirits, among others.
“The Amherst IDA continues to give public subsidies to companies that don’t need them and that the community opposes,” said Michele Marconi, with the Friends of Mike’s Pond. “Amherst residents have spoken clearly and loudly that we don’t want our taxpayer dollars wasted on projects that hurt our communities and erode our quality of life.”
Participants discussed solutions to address the problems with IDAs at the meeting, which included support for policies to increase the accountability and transparency of economic development programs.
“Our communities deserve to get their money’s worth from economic development dollars,” said Beverly Newkirk, Executive Director of It Takes a Village. “We must transform the way economic development is done so that our public subsidies are invested wisely to create good, family sustaining jobs, strengthen our schools, and provide the public services we all depend on.”
The Coalition for Economic Justice unites labor, faith, and community organizations
and activists with other allies to win dynamic campaigns that promote strong,
sustainable communities and economic justice for all.