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Empire Zones: companies gobble up tax breaks

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New York's Empire Zone program is supposed to give companies tax breaks in exchange for creating new jobs. An investigation by the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper has found in many cases, that's not happening. Of the ten companies that got the biggest property tax refunds in 2003, none created more than 20 jobs. Some cut positions. Still, the companies gobbled up $56 million in tax breaks. One is based in Potsdam. David Sommerstein spoke with the Post-Standard's Mike McAndrew, who co-authored the reports. He says the most egregious example is New Jersey-based NRG Energy, which owns electric generating stations in Oswego and western New York. In 2003, NRG Energy claimed $22 million in tax credits, and created one-half of one job.

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