No Tax breaks for SU Bookstore Building

30 year tax breaks for private developers is absurd.
Post-Standard Letter

March 22, 2012

To the Editor:

I like very much the idea of the proposed new S.U. bookstore building, the way it sits in front of and hides the huge parking garage and creates a friendly streetscape; and I look forward to the planned large fitness center close to home. However, I don't think it should receive the 30 year tax breaks the developers are asking for.

For decades the City has been overly disposed toward offering large tax breaks to new construction, duped by business propaganda such as "tax-increment financing", or "if we don't get tax breaks, we'll build somewhere else", or "something is better than nothing". The result is that, as recently published, over 50% of Syracuse property is tax exempt. The rest of us are making up the difference in higher property taxes, reduced services, and poorer infrastructure maintenance. Clearly this approach has proven uneconomic, unsustainable, and is killing the city. The City should reverse course: stop granting tax breaks; start negotiating tax payments from county, state, federal, and non-profit institutions; and take the leadership role in the planning and development of the City.

The Bookstore developers claim the project will not be viable without the tax breaks. If that's the case, it suggests the project is poorly conceived and should be reviewed and restructured as necessary.

I urge the Common Council to vote against the proposed 30 year property tax breaks for the S.U. Bookstore project.

Carlo Moneti
Syracuse, NY