Study: Babylon IDA tax cuts spurred $600M in activity

Big draw: An early look at Wyandanch Rising, then just a gleam in the Babylon IDA's eye.

Take a bow, Babylon Industrial Development Agency: You leveraged just $6 million in tax incentives into nearly 100 times that in economic activity, and created some 10,000 new jobs, in just five years.

So says “Investing in Babylon: A Study of Babylon’s Economy to Plan for the Future,” a 45-page dissertation following 80 transactions incentivized by the Babylon IDA between 2011 and 2015.

The economic impact analysis, conducted by the agency in conjunction with the Farmingdale State College School of Business, credits the IDA with creating nearly $600 million in economic investment in the Town of Babylon and adding more than 10,000 jobs to local payrolls during that time, all spurred by net tax exemptions amounting to only $6.2 million.

Noting the agency “takes its job very seriously,” Babylon IDA Board of Directors Chairman Patrick Halpin cited a primary mission of giving the town “the greatest return on its investment.”

“The results of the economic impact study conducted by Farmingdale State College provide additional reassurance that the types of business we look to attract and incentivize are the right fit for Babylon,” Halpin said in a statement. “Their growth and success is all the evidence we need to show we are doing what’s best for Babylon’s economy now and in the future.”

Rich Schaffer: Couldn’t do it without you, IDA.

The study divided the 80 incentivized projects, which came to pass after the IDA granted applicants business-friendly tax exemptions, into two phases: construction and operation. During their construction phases, the projects collectively increased the town’s Gross Regional Product $771 million over the five years – equivalent to a 1.1 percent GRP increase, according to the IDA.

The operation phase of these projects will ultimately increase the town’s GRP by $585 million per year, the study states, while increasing current employment levels by 3.8 percent.

“Investing in Babylon” also showed the IDA’s clear preference for manufacturing projects. The study filtered the 80 incentivized projects into four industry segments, with 43 “manufacturing” projects leading the way, followed by “wholesale trade” (19), “service” (13) and “residential/mixed use” (5) projects.

The full study is available here.

Thanking Farmingdale State for its assistance compiling an analysis that helps “better visualize and articulate the positive effect the IDA’s transactions have had on our community,” Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said “Investing in Babylon” would help town officials “plan for an even brighter economic future.”

“Babylon is an economically vibrant town that continues to become a more and more attractive place to do business,” Schaffer said Monday, attributing that growth in part to “the ever-important work of the IDA.”