Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said Wednesday she does not support any tax breaks for the proposed Destiny USA hotel. Developers sent a letter to the mayor and County Executive Joanie Mahoney last week expressing their intentions to build a $75 million, 252-room hotel on a parking lot across Hiawatha Boulevard.
During a Q&A session, Miner said, “As you recall, part of the argument for supporting the 30-year tax break was that we were supposed to receive much more money in sales tax than we were giving up in property taxes, and that has not happened. So, while we have received more sales taxes has not dwarfed what we would have received in property taxes.”
She also said she believes area schools would be the ones missing out, if the tax incentives were granted: “The lion’s share of property taxes goes to our school district. Our school district, right now which is in a very needy time, implementing the Common Core, looking at discipline strategies; they need those resources - arguably as much as the city does.” Miner said that it’s the retail end of the Destiny's business model that generates sales taxes, not hotels, and the argument that the hotel would generate sales taxes is not supported by facts. The developers have said they intend to seek an 18-year payment-in-lieu of taxes agreement from Onondaga County. Miner says such a deal would cost the city $20 million in revenue – money that could be used to fix roads and water mains, and keep police officers and firefighters on the payroll. While she’s come out against the tax break, Miner acknowledged that the city has no legal authority to stop any tax break considered by the county.