Atty seeks tax incentives for expansion

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – A prominent attorney wants to spend $5 million to expand his office, and he’s asking the Amherst Industrial Development Agency for a half million dollars in tax breaks to do so.

William Mattar wants to bulldoze a former house of worship next door to his current office and replace it with a new 20,000-square-foot office building to grow his business into other states, and a call center to help that happen.

“There’s going to be various businesses in that building,” Matter said. “People that can answer the phones, deal with the web contacts, take care of the document management, and medical records management.”

But Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and State Assemblyman Sean Ryan say professional services, such as medical and law offices, don’t qualify for tax incentives.

Ryan said, “There’s only so many people in Western New York who need a doctor, need a lawyer, who need an accountant. We don’t have shortages of them, so as a matter of public policy, we’re not subsidizing those anymore.”

To bolster their point, Ryan and Poloncarz picked the refurbished offices of the Collins and Collins law firm, a formerly dilapidated mansion that cost a million dollars to restore.

Buffalo Attorney Bill Collins said, “The playing field should remain level, so our firm can compete with his firm, and any other big firms in Western New York.”

Poloncarz says the IDA lowers sales taxes in Amherst and that deprives communities all over Erie County.

“That means lawyers in the City of Buffalo, lawyers in the Town of Sardinia, lawyers in the Town of Tonawanda, will actually be underwriting and subsiding this enhancement of the Mattar business,” he explained.

Mattar says his expansion would create 20 new jobs, and put the property next door back on the tax rolls. The Amherst IDA is set to hold a public hearing on the project Friday morning.

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