Several business groups, including Unshackle Upstate, are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders to include a property tax credit for New York manufacturers and an upstate manufacturing tax cut in the final budget agreement. 

Cuomo inserted both proposals in his 2014-15 executive budget. If adopted, the state net income tax rate on upstate manufacturers would be decreased from 5.9 percent to zero and every manufacturer in New York would be eligible to receive a 20 percent property tax credit. 

Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate, said the two tax relief measures would help manufacturers throughout the state, especially in upstate. 

"Communities across upstate New York were once defined as 'company towns.' Buffalo, Rochester, Corning, Schenectady and many others were all home to blue-chip manufacturing firms that were viewed as industry leaders and employed millions across the upstate region," Sampson said in a statement. "While those days may be behind us, upstate still possesses distinct advantages that have kept us poised to reemerge as a manufacturing giant: our skilled workforce, world-class educational institutions and industrial infrastructure are second to none. 

"However, New York's overtaxed, over-regulated business climate continues to deter investment in upstate manufacturing. Inclusion of the upstate manufacturing tax credit in this year's budget is the most significant step New York state can take to boost upstate industry." 

Rochester Business Alliance President and CEO Sandy Parker said both tax relief proposals would help manufacturers and boost the economy in upstate New York. 

"Manufacturing is vital to the success of Rochester and the economic well-being of Upstate," Parker said. "Economic challenges, regulatory burdens, and high state taxes have all played a role in the loss of manufacturing jobs over the years. We need to stem that loss, and create a climate that strengthens manufacturing and creates jobs. The elimination of the corporate income tax for upstate manufacturers, as proposed by Governor Cuomo and our leaders in the Senate and Assembly, is an essential step in that direction.”

While tax cuts are a major issue for many business groups, the National Federation Independent of Business also hopes the state avoids adding mandates that hurt small businesses. 

Mike Durant, director of NFIB in New York, said the final state budget agreement shouldn't contain certain mandates, including paid leave and an out-of-network health care mandate. 

"As the push to finalize the state budget intensifies, small businesses are concerned by reports of new, costly mandates from Albany," Durant said. "Small business owners will be deeply disappointed if the final budget agreement includes a paid leave requirement, a costly out-of-network health care mandate or an effort to link project labor agreements to design build. All three of those measures would dramatically increase costs on small employers and taxpayers and that’s exactly what New York doesn’t need.

"The tone in Albany last fall signaled a willingness to cut taxes and reduce the cost of doing business in New York. That should remain the focus and we hope it’s reflected in the budget. Anything less will be deflating. We need to change, not enhance, our reputation as an unfriendly place for business."

The Assembly and Senate budget resolutions included versions of both tax cuts. It appears likely they will be included in the final budget agreement, but Cuomo and legislative leaders are in the middle of negotiations and nothing has been finalized. 

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