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AP Photo/Seth Wenig
By: David Winzelberg December 28, 2021
The Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency recently passed a revised Long Island First Policy which aims to increase local business participation in IDA projects.
The revised policy was developed with input from construction representatives, the real estate development industry, and labor and business organizations. It requires applicants for IDA benefits to make best-faith efforts to utilize Long Island-based providers in construction or renovation phases of a project, and day-to-day business operations.
The goal is to require that spending by IDA clients creates employment opportunities for residents, boosting indirect economic benefits via new business opportunities and income to local companies, according to an IDA statement.
If an IDA client or any of its subcontractors cannot comply with the policy, they must provide the IDA with detailed documentation showing their best efforts to meet the policy’s goals. If they cannot provide an explanation for why they have elected to hire entities outside of Long Island, they will run the risk of reducing, losing or recapturing of IDA benefits.
“The Suffolk IDA’s Long Island First Policy has been on the books for quite some time, but these revisions will create enhanced opportunities for local businesses when investments are being made with IDA assistance,” Natalie Wright, commissioner and chairperson of the Suffolk IDA, said in the statement. “The IDA’s mission is economic development and job creation. This policy will go a long way in ensuring investments being made by IDA applicants provide the opportunity for local businesses and local workers to benefit, creating a waterfall effect of economic gains within our region.”
Matty Aracich, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, said the policy revisions address concerns raised by labor.
“We recognize that consideration was given to expand the level of transparency and compliance of the Long Island First Policy,” Aracich said in the statement. “It is clear that we have all worked in unison and succeeded in finding ways to make this policy fair while tempering expectations.”
Since 2012, when the initial Long Island First policy was created, IDA clients submit annual reports to the IDA that include the total dollar amount of all direct expenditures made to local Long Island businesses, such as vendors and suppliers, along with the names of the businesses included in the annual direct expenditure total.
“Any effort to encourage more Long Island companies to compete for work will only bolster our economy,” Kyle Strober, executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island, said in the statement. “Additionally, tracking potential construction industry deficiencies in our region will only serve to provide our construction sector with a strategic vision of potential opportunities that further expands job creation.”
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