While the proposed expansion of Woodbury Common raises major concerns about the detrimental effect of development, there are smaller projects that bring with them their own challenges, most notably the need for taxpayers to constantly subsidize anybody who seeks to make a profit.

The latest example comes in Goshen where a company that wants to revamp the ailing Goshen Plaza has announced that it wants taxpayers to provide help in the form of an exemption from sales taxes on building materials and by paying less than what it would otherwise owe in property taxes.

The plea for help now rests with the Orange County Industrial Development Agency which has in the past been happy to go along, most often noting how much any developer plans to invest, how many people will be employed and how much more tax revenue this will generate.

When these authorities were first envisioned, they were supposed to keep track of all the deals, to make sure that whatever the local taxpayer gave up was more than compensated. Over the years such figures have been hard to come by and even now it is difficult for the average taxpayer to find a convenient listing that provides a scorecard.

This is not very difficult and the Orange County IDA can make great strides in transparency if it commits itself in this case to the following:

• List all of the subsidies that taxpayers provide.

• List all of the benefits that the development will provide.

• List the penalties that will be imposed should the developer not comply.

• Provide periodic reports annually comparing the performance to the promise and calculating the penalties that have been paid if it falls short.

In addition, even before considering subsidies for this project in Goshen, the agency needs to go back to basics and inform the public how such a project qualifies for help in the first place.

The original idea centered on luring businesses that might otherwise locate elsewhere. Because the Goshen Plaza is in Goshen, that is not the case here. Nobody else is bidding for it.

A secondary consideration was the preservation of jobs that might otherwise be lost. That, too, is irrelevant here because most of the jobs left long ago. But the quality of the jobs envisioned in the new businesses certainly need to be addressed. Will they be full-time with the kinds of salaries and benefits that provide a chance for a living wage? And can the developer even make that promise?

And that leaves the third consideration, the notion that unless this development gets the subsidies it is asking for, it will not bother with the project at all.

If that is the case, let the developer say so and let the negotiating begin. Will he build only if he gets everything he asks for or is there room for negotiation, a chance that Goshen might get the shops it has waited for with a little less help from the taxpayers?

That’s the way businesses work and it is time that the industrial development authorities start acting in this businesslike manner, treating our money with the same respect that developers treat theirs.