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Tax breaks ... and more

   In Business Today, Verizon gets its tax breaks, and is still hungry. While a company that makes cardboard wants its cut.

Verizon granted tax break for center - Thomas J. Prohaska/The Buffalo News
   Verizon Communications was granted a 20-year tax break for its $4.5 billion data center in Somerset on Wednesday, but the company is trying to use the project as leverage to obtain changes in state regulations and defeat of a piece of state legislation it opposes.
   “We still have what we consider some unfinished business,” Verizon spokeswoman Maureen Rasp-Glose said after the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency unanimously approved the tax package.
   The deal involves sales and property tax abatements totaling $518 million over 20 years and would result in the company paying about 15 percent of its tax liability. Verizon also has secured a commitment from the New York Power Authority for 25 megawatts of discounted hydropower that would save the company an estimated $96 million over 15 years.
   The company’s plan is to create 200 jobs, paying an average of $85,000 a year, on 158 acres of land on Lake Road next to the AES Corp. power plant. AES would sell the land to Verizon. The total value of the package — $614 million — is the largest subsidy deal offered a company in Western New York and works out to nearly $3.1 million per job. ...
  State and local officials have lobbied hard for the project, but the company also has some concerns about putting a project in New York. Rasp-Glose said Verizon wants the State Legislature to defeat a bill that would require the company to rebate 40 percent of the proceeds from any sale or merger of its New York operations, either in cash to ratepayers or by means of infrastructure investments in New York.
   Rasp-Glose said the Legislature also needs to loosen Public Service Commission regulations on its business, which she said the company considers “antiquated.” ...
  The rebate bill Verizon opposes was passed by the Assembly on July 1 under the sponsorship of Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, a Westchester County Democrat. Assembly cosponsors included Erie County Democrats Sam Hoyt, Dennis H. Gabryszak and Mark J. F. Schroeder, while Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes signed on later.
   However, the bill is stalled in the Senate, where lame-duck Sen. William T. Stachowski, D-Lake View, was among the cosponsors.
   Brodsky told The Buffalo News on Wednesday that the bill involves property Verizon owned before the deregulation of the telephone industry. He called the company’s attempt to tie it to the data center project “an elegant form of blackmail.”

Cardboard plant seeks tax break - Thomas J. Prohaska/The Buffalo News
  A Canadian company that operates a Niagara Falls cardboard plant applied Wednesday for a 20-year tax break on a new paper mill in the Falls.
   The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency expects to vote Dec. 15 on the deal with Norampac’s [in English] newly formed subsidiary, Greenpac Mill.
   The company plans to invest $407.5 million to demolish an abandoned mill next to its active plant on Packard Road and erect a new one on the same site, creating 110 new jobs in the process.
   The 120 jobs in the existing Norampac plant will stay put, and its operations will continue, General Manager Luc Nadeau said.
   A public hearing on the payment- in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, arrangement is to be held at 4 p.m. Dec. 14 in Niagara Falls City Hall. ...

   This Verizon deal may be getting more complicated:


-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News


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