NEW YORK — There’s been some grumbling in Chinatown that supporters of the apparel industry haven’t played their cards right in the drive to get the neighborhood, along with the Lower East Side and Little Italy, declared a part of New York State’s Empire Zone development program.

As reported, in August the city submitted an application asking the state to name the downtown area as one of six new Empire Zones it planned to declare this year. New and expanding businesses in Empire Zones get tax breaks when they add new employees or invest in new equipment. That could be a particular boon to Chinatown’s garment workers, many of whom have lost their jobs since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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