Aug 09, 2007 — State officials are scrutinizing thousands of New York businesses that signed up for tax breaks under the Empire Zone program. The Spitzer administration says as many as three thousand companies may have failed to meet their goals for expanding jobs. More than 240 businesses in the North Country are on the list. The Empire Zones have exploded in cost over the last seven years, growing from $30 million in 2000 to a projected $550 million this year. Supporters say those subsidies have boosted business in struggling communities. But critics say taxpayers aren't getting much bang for their buck. Today and tomorrow, we'll talk with a variety of experts, including officials with Empire State Development, and a business owner who signed up for the tax breaks. To get the big picture, Brian Mann spoke with Michelle Breidenbach, a reporter for the Syracuse Post-Standard. Her newspaper has published a series of investigative reports about Empire Zones.