Union Guy Gets Inside Tax-Break Game

The newest member of an obscure panel that gives out hundreds of millions of dollars in city tax breaks each year, the Industrial Development Agency, is promising to cast a skeptical eye on the process.

“New York is so vibrant and strong that companies are under significant pressure to be in New York City,” Kevin Doyle, executive vice president for Local 32BJ, told The Real Estate. “What’s the rationale for spending public money to do things that [companies] are going to be doing anyway?”

It is rare that a labor representative sits on the I.D.A. board of directors. Mr. Doyle, 58, was recommended to the post by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who has a close relationship with 32BJ, an 85,000-member division of the Service Employees International Union, which represents building workers.

Mr. Doyle also said he would question the labor practices of companies applying for tax incentives, mentioning that JP Morgan Chase, which is reportedly pushing for more subsidies to move to Ground Zero, pays its security guards “as little as $8 an hour.”

Mr. Doyle, who was appointed in February, is realistic about the impact he will have, given that nine of the 15 members are appointed by the Mayor, and the others, recommended by the borough presidents and city comptroller, must be confirmed by him. (There are currently some vacancies.)

“It’s a mayorally driven process,” he said.

- Matthew Schuerman