NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — IDAs are generally not allowed to grant tax breaks to retail projects, including restaurants. That’s because retail projects generally don’t create new wealth, but rather simply redistribute spending, and usually don’t create good-paying jobs that economic development officials typically look for.
Mark Gabriele, the IDA’s in-house attorney, said the agency is justified in granting the subsidies because the restaurants would be located in a so-called “distressed area.” Such areas are defined as having high poverty and unemployment rates, and state law allows subsidies for projects of all types in those locations.
The IDA noted that the area where Shoaib wants to open his restaurants has a poverty rate of 45 percent and an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent. State law defines an area as distressed if it has a poverty rate of 20 percent or more.
Shoaib said he’s planning the two restaurants because downtown Niagara Falls has limited dining options. You can read the full story on Investigative Post's, website.