Friday, June 15, 2012

IDA Could Kill More PILOTs. But Which PILOTs?

If you read the Times Herald Record, you know about several of the businesses in question. But why not the rest? (sorry, moronic paywall):
Businesses applying for tax breaks made big promises to the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency, but they didn't all pan out.

The IDA is combing through its records to see how far short of expectations businesses fell. The move comes on the heels of Birchwood Village developer Steve Aaron's default on tax break payments, which might go into arbitration.

Eight businesses that received breaks from the IDA are underperforming in terms of job creation, IDA Chairman David O'Halloran said. Those eight businesses represent 23 percent of the IDA's active projects.

The IDA has "clawback" rules on its tax breaks. If businesses don't meet projections, the agency can eliminate the breaks, ask for money back or other options, O'Halloran said.

Two underperformers, the Hampton Inn in Kingston and the Hudson Valley Sportsdome in Milton, explained their numbers Wednesday at an IDA meeting.
This is classic lazy journalism. DiNapoli writes that a number of businesses in Ulster County could lose tax breaks or be subject to other sanctions, but she cannot be bothered to ask which businesses O'Halloran is referring to. Her article doesn't say that the THR tried and failed to obtain this information (which is publicly available). So, why the omission? Could it be that one of these "underperfomers" is Skate Time 209, which is owned by O'Halloran patrons Len and Terry Bernardo? How convenient of DiNapoli to leave this information out of her article.

I would argue that DiNapoli is just being lazy, if it weren't for the fact that O'Halloran seems to have the ear of a THR editor. Who can forget this little gem of a few months ago? (sorry, the same moronic paywall):
Snail mail ads play role in digital age

By James Walsh
Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM - 04/22/12
Despite the popularity of electronic communications in the digital age, direct-mail advertising has shown remarkable resilience as a popular and even growing marketing tool for businesses interested in narrowing their target for customers.

Marketing companies find that overloaded electronic mailboxes and the prevalence of spam filters are partially responsible for boosting the advantages of direct mail.

"We thought we could save on the printing, on the postage, but then we saw our occupancy rate drop," said David O'Halloran, proprietor of the Pinegrove Ranch and Family Resort in Kerhonkson, of the company's foray into email marketing.

Success strategies

Here are some tips for businesses considering direct-mail marketing:

• Always make an offer in a mailing. That increases the chances it will be read, said Jay Shapiro of D&D Mailing Services in Newburgh.

• Define your customer and use that information to market to other geographical areas, said David O'Halloran, a longtime user of direct mail and proprietor of the Pinegrove Ranch and Family Resort in Kerhonkson.

• Be prepared to make multiple mailings. It takes time to establish recognition. Make mailings eye-catching with a compelling message, said Josh Sommers of Focus Media.

• Use email to enhance, not replace, direct mail, said O'Halloran.
O'Halloran, chairman of the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency, found that direct mail and print ads drive traffic to the resort's website.

Many of those viewers, he suspects, peruse the website during their lunch hour, because traffic spikes between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Josh Sommers of Focus Media in Goshen and Jay Shapiro of D&D Mailing Services in Newburgh agreed that businesses should use multiple marketing platforms. Email still has its place. O'Halloran finds sending an occasional message is fine, while too-frequent ones spur requests for removal from email distribution lists.
Talk about fluff. The THR did everything but climb into bed with O'Halloran and peel him a grape.

But we shouldn't be surprised. The THR is owned by News Corp, the company founded by Rupert Murdoch, a man who has done more than anyone in history when it comes to damaging the journalism profession. The THR, which was once a pretty good paper, is now nothing more than ads, recycled AP stories, and a handful of slipshod local pieces that don't tell the reader anything important.

For Murdoch, News Corp, and the THR, this is "progress." And for those like O'Halloran and the Bernardos, an ignorant and under-informed public is their best ally.


  1. I want to see how many other businesses are in default of their IDA agreements. I don't buy the "grandfathered" bullshit, either. Some of these places get tax breaks for 15+ years. If they're still receiving any benefit from an IDA agreement, we should be able to see the public should know if they're in default. Should be pretty simple.
    THR keeps trotting out the same tired stories. Have they looked into whether Aaron's IDA default is even valid in light of the court's decision to consider arbitration? Seems too selective to me. Like O'Halloran has a hard-on for Aaron and THR is all too willing to spread for him.

  2. O Halloran should "clawback" Bernardo's Pilot like the queen has clawed back the taxpayers of Ulster county. What goes around should come around but in Ulster we or the Bernardo's have different rules