Buffalo, N.Y. - Back in 1990 in order to keep Allstate Insurance and the 150 jobs it had here at the time, developers were given tax breaks to build office buildings for the company in Orchard Park and Amherst.
Five years later in 1995, Allstate was back asking for tax breaks again - this time the company wanted a new office building in Amherst in order to consolidate its operations. In the process it was cutting 60 jobs, going down to 90 employees.
At the time, the Amherst Industrial Development Agency gave a developer a $425,000 tax break to help put up a new building for Allstate in Amherst.
Now 18 years later, after three different tax breaks, Allstate is closing up shop in Western New York, moving the remaining 48 jobs it has left to Rochester.
Assemblyman Sean Ryan says the Amherst IDA should never have given tax breaks back in the 1990s to a company that was reducing the size of its workforce.
Assemblyman Sean Ryan: "The IDA's tax exempt bonds and (other incentives) are for job creation, they're not to subsidize job losses and that's exactly what we did with these mindless tax breaks - we gave a multi-national huge company a lot of our hard earned tax dollars to shrink their footprint in Western New York and now they're saying goodbye."
Scott Brown: "Should we be offering incentives to businesses that are downsizing, that are cutting jobs?"
Jim Allen, Amherst IDA Executive Director: "That's a good question, I do think it's an issue. Now do you incentivize them to move into a new building which would make them more efficient and keep them here or simply say 'no you're downsizing, we're not going to help you.' I mean if you think not helping them is going to result in them leaving the area what do you do? I mean it is an issue, I don't have an answer to that unfortunately, but I do think that's the issue."