Mayor Spano Says It's Unfair For Taxpayers To Take On Burden Created By Continued Tax Breaks For POP Displays

YONKERS (CBSNewYork) — Several hundred workers were scrambling Thursday, after learning their jobs are moving from Westchester County to Georgia.

Their employer asked for help keeping the jobs in Yonkers, but the mayor said he could not justify continued tax breaks, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.

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The news from POP Displays gave workers plenty to chew over, as they took their 30-minute lunch breaks at nearby restaurants.

POP Displays, which makes retail and specialty displays, is moving around 400 factory jobs from Yonkers to Georgia. (Photo: CBS2)

“Everybody’s shocked. We’re all shocked. I’ve been there almost 10 years,” one woman said.

“I’m in shock. Been there almost a year. The 19th will be a year at POP. It hurts that they’re leaving,” a man added.

After more than a decade making retail and specialty displays in Yonkers, POP is relocating almost 400 factory jobs to Georgia.

“I wish there’s something we can do, ourselves, about it, but it’s not in our hands, too,” employee Wil Reyes said. “All we can try to do is get on our feet somewhere else.”

Mayor Mike Spano said POP asked for a continuation of the tax incentives that originally enticed it to the city. He told CBS2’s Aiello discussions were intense, but ultimately he couldn’t justify what started to look like taxpayers propping up the company’s bottom line.

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“You just want to continue a perpetual tax incentive that costs the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. It’s really not fair to the Yonkers taxpayers that will continue to do that,” Spano said, adding, “There has to be an end to it.”

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Down the street, Peppino’s Pizzeria said losing POP workers will slice its lunch business by 50 percent.

“Every day they’re here, so it’s gonna be a big loss,” Peppino’s Carmelo Mirabile said.

POP did get incentives from Westchester County to move 50 back office jobs to a complex in Rye Brook.

But everything else is moving to Georgia, where the costs and taxes are lower, Aiello reported.

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Mayor Spano said the huge Tuckahoe Road facility the company is leaving is a hot property and he’s “confident” a new light industrial tenant will move in there soon.