Miner criticizes Consensus, tax break deals
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said there are too many unanswered questions about the proposed government merger between her city and Onondaga County. Miner weighed in on the Consensus CNY recommendations for the first time since they were revealed earlier this year, telling Onondaga County's Conservative Party over the weekend that she cannot definitively support or oppose the consolidation plan without more information. Specifically, she said the Consensus proposal to target more than $100 million in redundant government services lacks critical data.
"Over and over again the questions were asked, where's the data? Show us in the information. Prove to us this point," Miner said. "And what came back were threats, 'We're going to take away your money and stop being negative.'"
Consensus leaders have only issued a preliminary report at this point, but Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said past mergers between the two governments have saved money, such as the consolidation of their purchasing departments.
Miner said upstate New York is getting shortchanged by tax break deals in New York's economic development strategy. In an interview with "The Capitol Pressroom" Monday, Miner said communities like Syracuse are not seeing enough of a return from tax-relief agreements. She cited Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Start Up NY program as an example, which gives businesses a 10-year tax break if they open up shop on or near a college campus. Miner cited news reports that found 150 companies have signed up under the program and are promising to create 4,000 jobs, but the state spent more than $200 million just to advertise the campaign.
"We have real needs for economic development in upstate New York, as everybody who lives here certainly knows first hand and as the data shows, and unfortunately the programs that have been paid for with our tax dollars are not showing any appreciable economic development for upstate," Miner said.
She said the state should be investing tax dollars into infrastructure projects, not advertising. It's a similar message miner delivered during her speech to the Onondaga Conservative Party, where she pledged to wage war against tax deals, including the one proposed by the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency for the $75 million hotel Destiny USA wants to build.