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      Local businesses could lose tax breaks

      The Empire State Development Corporation has released a list 544 businesses statewide that have been decertified for Empire Zone tax breaks. The businesses allegedly did not meet qualifications that include the hiring of employees and expansion.

      By far, more businesses were decertified in Onondaga County and Syracuse than in any other part of the state outside of New York City. A total of 116 businesses will lose their Empire Zone status, unless they can successfully appeal the decision by the Empire State Development Corporation.

      The tax breaks include sales tax exemptions, property tax credits, wage tax credits and other benefits. Those companies affected have until July 21 - 15 days after receiving the revocation notice - to submit a notice that they intend to appeal. They then have until August 28 to submit the full written appeal.

      The program came under fire in recent years for granting tax breaks to businesses that used loopholes to qualify for Empire Zone status without expanding or hiring workers.

      Click on the related link below for the full list of affected companies.