65 People in Cold and Drizzle Rally to Demand an ‘Economic Development’ Policy That Works for Everyone, Not Just Wealthy Developers and Corporations at IDA Meeting Friday

In coordination with the national Jobs with Justice network’s Week of Action (9/24 thru 10/2) that demands an economic recovery for working people, over 65 people joined the Workers’ Center for both a rally and the Industrial Development Agency’s (IDA) meeting Friday afternoon. The intention of the rally was to demand economic development that works for everyone, not just wealthy developers and corporations.

The issue of whether or not to grant sales and tax abatements for the construction of a deluxe and luxurious new hotel in downtown Ithaca, Hotel Ithaca, was considered and moved to a Public Hearing which will happen sometime in November.

Construction of the hotel, proposed to be at the corner of Aurora and E.State/Martin Luther King, Jr. Street in Ithaca, is scheduled to start in early 2010. The hotel is billed at $27 million dollars and will be run by Gemstone Hotels and Resorts, a luxury hotelier with locations in Beverly Hills, Chicago, Lake Placid, San Antonio, Lake Tahoe, New York City, etc). A cursory glance at going rates reveals the cheapest to be in the range of $250 a night for a one bedroom.

While many of us can be happy about an increased tax revenue that Hotel Ithaca could bring into Tompkins County, the Tompkins County Workers’ Center also believes it is imperative that if such a wealthy enterprise is to be given tax abatements, the corporation can also afford to pay its workers a Living Wage, as defined and updated by Alternatives Federal Credit Union every two years (presently at $11.11 with health insurance provided; $12.11 without health insurance). This is not only the right thing to do but would also be consistent with the intent of local living wage resolutions passed by the County in 2003 and the City of Ithaca in 2003.

If you live in Tompkins County, please email or call one or more of the seven (7) individuals who comprise the Tompkins County Industrial Devlopment Agency by Thursday, October 1st, to let them know that this is not the time to give away public monies to appease a wealthy developer and hotelier without a guarantee of significant community and worker benefits in return.

Martha Robertson – Chair

T.C. Legislature

Phone: 272-0584

E-mail: mrob@twcny.rr.com

Larry Baum

President, The Computing Center

Phone: 257-3524

Email: larry@compcenter.com

Daniel Cogan – Vice Chair

Alderman, Ward 5, City of Ithaca

Phone:(h) 273-7040; (w) 277-1118

E-mail: dcogan@cityofithaca.org

Jeffrey Furman

Phone: 272-6394

E-mail: jfurman@twcny.rr.com

Michael Sigler

T.C. Legislature

Phone: 339-7978

E-mail: mike.sigler@yahoo.com

Michael Koplinka-Loehr – Secretary

Chair, T.C. Legislature

Phone: 274-5434

Phone: 257-2329 (h)

E-mail: mak11@cornell.edu

Kathy Luz Herrera

T.C. Legislature

Phone: (h) 273-8169; (cell-w) 327-2621

E-mail (primary): kathyluzherrera@gmail.com

E-mail (county): kherrera@tompkins-co.org