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Hudson IDA giving out very generous tax breaks for hotels

Aug 22, 2022 2:01 pm

Updated Aug. 25. [Times Union] Editor's note: This story has been updated to remove incorrect comparisons between the tax break rates given by the Hudson IDA and other Capital District IDAs. A data error was made mismatching the total, lifetime costs of projects with their tax savings over a single year, which made it appear as though the Hudson IDA gave out tax breaks that far exceeded those of neighboring communities. A graphic and chart showing the comparison has also been removed from the [original TU] story.

Roger Hannigan Gilson reports in the Times Union about how Hudson is dealing with the affordable housing crisis by regulating new hotels in the city. A lack of hotel rooms in the Hudson Valley is one of the economic forces driving the high cost of housing, as individuals capitalize on the need for short-term rentals by converting apartments that would usually be rented to residents into places for tourists to stay. So if there are more hotel rooms available, there would be less demand for short-term rentals. But after Hudson's Industrial Development Agency began handing out tax breaks to new hotels, some residents became concerned. "When people come in and ask for (tax breaks) and they're creating things like hotels, there should be some benefit ... that the community is actually asking for, and that should be a solidified part of the process," Hudson First Ward Supervisor Claire Cousins said. Cousins is a spokesperson for the Hudson Community Benefits Alliance, a group of concerned neighbors and city residents. The group pressured the Hudson IDA to impose a moratorium on tax breaks for new hotels so it could reconsider the requirements for getting the abatements. In the past two years the Hudson IDA has given tax breaks for four new building projects, with another held up by the moratorium. And the tax breaks given to those projects are far more generous than those given to other nearby projects. The Hudson IDA gave out tax breaks between 5 and 9 percent when compared to the project's total cost. But the city of Albany IDA gave the average project a 1.3 percent tax break in 2020; Schenectady was at 0.7 percent. Cousins hopes things at the Hudson IDA change. "Hopefully you get people who we can trust that are going to do the right thing, that have good intentions and would love to make the community happy," Cousins said. "But unfortunately, we're talking about money in people's pockets and the city of Hudson and how intriguing it is, so you can't trust that." Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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