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Proper Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance

Abbott’s Frozen Custard
Abbott’s Frozen Custard
Abbott’s Frozen Custard

The purpose of the New York State Section 485-B Business tax exemption is “to encourage targeted economic development, create or retain permanent private sector jobs, and …to provide employment opportunities and broaden the tax base.”

Five of the seven 485-B tax exemptions granted by Sweden town assessor Tony Eaffaldano do not do that.

That’s because the Sweden Town Council has failed to provide Eaffaldano with any guidance on which types of business should get the 485-B tax exemption.

Paragraphs 9 (a) and 9 (b) of Section 485-B of the New York State Real Property Tax Law grant the Sweden Town Council the right to create a plan “concerning the various types of business real property which should be granted eligibility for an exemption.”

But the Sweden Town Council has failed to do that.

According to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, 643 municipalities in New York State, including Spencerport, have put such a plan in place, but the Sweden Town Council has no plan.

So, Eaffaldano has no choice, but to blindly follow the instructions set down in Paragraph 4 of Section 485-B of the New York State Real Property Tax Law.

Paragraph 4 is the basic boilerplate used only by those municipalities that do not bother to create a plan.

“If the assessor is satisfied that the applicant is entitled to an exemption pursuant to this section, he or she shall approve the application.”

Because the Sweden Town Council failed to implement the provisions of Paragraphs 9 (a) and 9 (b) of the 485-B law, Eaffaldano has to approve each and every valid application for a 485-B tax exemption.

That’s why he has approved the tax exemptions for a fast food joint, a snack bar, a lumber yard, and a gas station, even though those tax exemptions do not foster economic development, create or retain permanent private sector jobs, or provide employment opportunities and broaden the tax base.

Some people are lucky enough to learn the importance of planning early in life. They know that without proper planning, you will get pitifully poor performance. So they do their best to plan properly.

But other people never seem to learn the Lesson of the 6 P's, Proper Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance.

Failing to plan is planning to fail
Alan Lakein

The amazing thing is that it is easy to find out what you need to do to create the plan called for in Paragraphs 9 (a) and 9 (b) of the 485-B law.

The entire the 485-B law is only 2,253words long, and paragraphs 9 (a) and 9 (b) are on 253 words long.

A town may, by local law, … establish a board to be known as the industrial and commercial incentive board. The membership and composition of such board shall be set forth in the local law or resolution.

(b) The industrial and commercial incentive board shall present a plan to the appointing local legislative body concerning the various types of business real property which should be granted eligibility for an exemption pursuant to subdivision one of this section.

Such plan shall make recommendations concerning the applicability of the exemption to specific sectors and subsectors, as defined in the North American Industry Classification System published by the United States Government.

Such plan shall also make a recommendation as to whether the exemption be computed as provided in subdivision two or twelve of this section. In addition, such plan shall identify specific geographic areas within which such exemptions should be offered.

In developing the plan required by this paragraph, the board shall consider the planning objectives of each municipality within which such exemptions may be offered, the necessity of the exemption to the attraction or retention of such business and the economic benefit to the area of providing exemptions to various types of businesses.

First, the Sweden Town Council needs to pass a resolution creating an industrial and commercial incentive board, and defining what the membership of that board will be.

Then the town council needs to direct the new incentive board to identify the types of business real property which should be granted the 485-B tax exemption, in order to,“create or retain permanent private sector jobs, and …to provide employment opportunities and broaden the tax base.”

This isn’t rocket science. This is basic economics.

You identify the types of businesses that will create jobs and broaden the tax base in your town, then you offer tax breaks only to those types of businesses.

You don’t offer tax breaks to fast food joints, snack bars and gas stations; unless, of course, you are the Sweden Town Council.