Monday, October 11, 2010

Carl Paladino's business deals scrutinized

ALBANY — As Carl Paladino, the Tea Party-backed Republican gubernatorial candidate, makes his case to voters, the lucrative real estate and development business he has built is being scrutinized for its reliance on government contracts and tax breaks.

Democratic opponents charge his companies' web of leases with government agencies, tax credits and political contributions to both
parties over the years contradicts a platform that pledges to reduce state spending and taxes.

Good-government advocates believe it's another sign that the state's lax campaign-finance laws, especially rules governing how much one can donate, need an overhaul.

And critics of the Empire Zone program, which provided Paladino's firms with millions of dollars in tax breaks in exchange for little job growth, point to the ineffectiveness of the now-expired economic-development program.

State records obtained by Gannett's Albany Bureau through a Freedom of Information request show Paladino received $3.3 million in Empire Zone tax benefits over the last decade but created only 29 jobs, or $118,305 in tax breaks for each job created.

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