The state Legislature passed the Start-Up NY plan Friday -- an initiative Gov. Andrew Cuomo called "the boldest economic development program for upstate New York, ever" during an interview this week.
Assemblyman Gary Finch, R-Springport, voted for the Start-Up NY legislation. While he has some concerns with the program and how it will affect existing businesses, Finch said Start-Up NY has potential.
"Recognizing the need for action, I have cast my vote in favor of the Start-Up NY and Excelsior Jobs programs. I do feel there are problems with the Start-Up NY program, however. The provision removing income taxes for new businesses and their employees will subsequently cause their tax burdens to fall on the backs of the other taxpayers and existing businesses of New York," Finch said in a statement Friday. "Despite this concern, I'm optimistic about its potential ability to succeed. Binghamton University has applied this start-up methodology to fairly good effect in recent years and I hope the same will happen in other areas for the sake of resuscitating our economy. Fortunately, the Excelsior program does cast a more inclusive net of tax credits for our existing businesses, which will also play a pivotal role in reviving our economy."
The Start-Up NY program will establish tax-free zones on SUNY and private college campuses. Businesses that set up shop in a tax-free zone won't have to pay corporate, property or sales taxes for 10 years. Employees working at businesses in tax-free zones won't have to pay state income taxes for five years.
The agreement between Cuomo and legislative leaders also included incentives for existing businesses. A change was made to the Excelsior Jobs program, a state initiative that provides tax credits to businesses. The bill reduced by half the job creation requirements for businesses receiving tax credits through the Excelsior Jobs program.
Between Start-Up NY and the changes to the Excelsior Jobs program, Finch said the program could help boost the economy.
"In this vein of thought, I believe one of the most effective ways we can help our economy grow is through pairing education with practical job training," he said. "If the Start-Up NY program allowed all businesses, new and existing, and new types of industries, such as the ever-expanding high-tech industry, to work together and develop the workforce needed to renovate our economy, we could far more cogently put New Yorkers back to work and revitalize our state."