ALBANY, NY (Erie News Now)--In Albany, several bills in the legislature seek to change how industrial development agencies or IDA's operate and spend public money. 

Some lawmakers are calling for more oversight of IDA operations and their deals with private businesses. 

“They’ve set themselves up to have very little accountability to the taxpayers or to the government that helps fund them,” said Sen. Sean Ryan (D-60th Senate District).

Other lawmakers agree

“There are tools at our disposal as legislators to better hold IDA’s accountable. Right now, there is very little accountability and so they do operate in many cases like the wild west,” said Sen. James Skoufis (D-42nd Senate District).

ACCORDING TO A RECENT SENATE COMMITtEE INVESTIGATION REPORT, SOME IDA's GRANTED UNnECESSARY TAX BREAKS TO BUSINESSES FOR PROJECTS THAT SOME LAWMAKERS SAY WOULD HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT FINANCIAL INCENTIVES.   

TAX BREAKS GRANTED BY Ida'S RESULT IN LESS MONEY TO LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS. 

“That’s a real problem, education funding should be separate and taken out of economic development subsidies,”  said Sen. Sean Ryan (D-60th Senate District). 

SEN. RYAN SAid HIS LEGISLATION, INTRODUCED IN ALBANY, WILL PREVENT IDA’S FROM WAIVING TAXES THAT WOULD OTHERWISE BE RECeiVED BY A SCHOOL DISTrICT.   

OTHER LAWMAKERS ARE ALSO CONCERNED ABOUT IDA OPERATIONS. PROPOSED LEGISLATION WOULD REQUIRE A SCHOOL BOARD REPRESENTATIVE ON Ida BOARDS MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS AND TAX BREAKS.   

“If it’s a residential project, which is going to increase the number of students in a school district or is going to affect the tax base of the school district which taxes separately, they ought to have a seat at the table and be engaged with the IDA,” said Sen. Shelley Mayer (D-37th Senate District).

SEN. SKOUFIS SAid ONE WAY TO COMBAT THIS ISSUE IS TO REGIONALIZE OR LIMIT THE NUMBER OF IDA'S OPERATING AROUND THE STATE. SKOUFIS CURRENTLY SPONSORS LEGISLATION TO DO THIS.   

SKOUFIS UNDERSCORES THERE ARE SOME Ida'S THAT DO WHAT THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO DO AND HELP COMMUNITIES GROW THEIR ECONOMIES. BUT THERE ARE SIMPLY NOT ENOUGH OF THEM DOING THE RIGHT THING, HE SAid.   

“We have a lot of work to do as a state legislature to clean up these acts,” said Skoufis.