Advocates say Niagara County IDA funding low-wage projects

Hotel projects don’t create living wage jobs. That is the message being sent to the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency by labor and community groups.

A rally held in front of a Niagara Falls motel, the Budget Host Inn, Wednesday was meant to shed light on what they say is a need for reform. Andy Reynolds with the Coalition for Economic Justice says the IDA has subsidized 13 hotels projects in the last two years at a cost of $15 million.

“Hotels are not a good choice for economic development,” Reynolds told WBFO. “Many of the hotel projects that are getting build could be be done with the developer’s own funding, without taxpayer assistance. Many of these hotel projects simply create low-wage jobs and they’re not worth the public investing taxpayers dollars.”

“This has a negative impact on how much money we have to fund public services like schools, to build new roads, and to support public transportation and other public services we all depend on.”

Reynolds says IDA money would be better spent on projects involving higher-paying jobs, such as manufacturing.

The advocates are calling on the IDA to pass a living wage policy in support of projects that creates jobs that pay at least $15 an hour. They also want the agency to hold businesses that receive tax breaks accountable for the jobs they promise.

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