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Local Tax Breaks from COMIDA Criticized


Local labor and community groups are calling on the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency to cancel tax breaks for a local company.

COMIDA awarded Ward's Natural Science, a supplier of educational science materials, tax incentives in 2008 to expand their warehouse in Henrietta.

Since then, the company that owns Ward’s, VWR Education, recently shut down its plant in a Buffalo suburb, laying off 41 warehouse workers.

Allison Duwe, executive director at the Coalition for Economic Justice, concerned about shifting jobs from one region that's no longer receiving tax breaks to another that is, "The problem is that they came to Monroe County tax payers and asked for them to foot the bill, when clearly they had every intention of moving here anyway. It looks like they didn't ask for enough documentation to prove that VWR, that Ward's, was going to do anything different than set up shop here. How long are you going to be committed to Henrietta?"

Monroe County officials issued a statement saying VWR Education's decision to close its Buffalo warehouse does not impact the current contractual agreement with Ward's in Henrietta.

The County also says there are penalties in the agreement if the Henrietta facility closes or does not create or maintain the employment levels required. The penalties could include requirement that some or all of the benefits would have to be returned to the County.

At the end of December, Ward's employed 257 people meeting its requirement to maintain at least 215 jobs over the course of its 10 year agreement, which ends in 2018.