City Springs For New MetLife Deal, But Where Was The Public Input?

The worst part about Tuesday’s vote on a new tax incentive agreement with MetLife, according to a watchdog group that follows corporate subsidies, may have been the fact that the vote was taken without any public notice other than a story in that morning’s New York Times.

Normally, the mayorally controlled Industrial Development Agency publishes an agenda about two weeks in advance of its meetings and holds a public hearing a few days before each. But the new MetLife deal didn’t come up in the public hearing last week, and wasn’t on the advance agenda for Tuesday’s IDA board meeting.

“It demonstrates they were not willing to put it in front of the public, which is sort of to the detriment of the deal,” said Good Jobs New York research associate Dan Steinberg. “The city would have had more leverage if the public was allowed to comment on it,” he added, since the public’s objections would show the pressure that the city was facing to exact greater concessions from MetLife.

For the full Good Jobs statement, see here. The details of the new agreement, passed by the IDA’s board, can be found in the city Economic Development Corporation’s press release here.

– Matthew Schuerman