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Hempstead IDA Members Resign Over Tax Controversy

Courtesy of Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency

Six out of seven members of the Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency resigned this week after they were criticized for granting millions of dollars in tax breaks to the owners of the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, Long Island.  

The Hempstead Town IDA granted the mall what’s known as a PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, worth $14 million for the mall’s renovation in 2014.

Local property taxes have increased by as much as about $750 per property owner in Valley Stream.

As its members resigned, the IDA released a report that found the tax breaks were not the only reason local property taxes jumped. They say the school districts had its own budget issues.

However, Valley Stream school officials say they underbudgeted by nearly $3 million because the IDA wasn’t transparent about the amount of tax breaks it allowed. Officials say they may have passed that cost on to taxpayers.  

Town Supervisor Anthony Santino has called on the town board to appoint six new members to its IDA board.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.
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