North Country business and municipal officials gathered at a local manufacturing plant Thursday morning to praise New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s economic development proposals and call on the legislature to expedite their passage.
Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address included initiatives to aid manufacturing and business development across the state. Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Garry Douglas welcomed the governor’s core commitment to tax relief and economic development. “What we see in his state business-related tax relief package: number one, a reduction of the corporate franchise tax rate; accelerating the phase-out of the 18A assessment on utilities and immediate elimination of that assessment for all industrial customers; some significant reforms to estate taxes; a complete phase out of the corporate franchise tax for upstate manufacturers. We’re talking zero. That’s an extraordinary step. And then a refundable tax credit for all upstate manufacturers equal to 20-percent of a company’s annual real property taxes. So here we see relief for business, relief for job creators, but also relief targeted to upstate.”
The Development Corporation President Paul Grasso says businesses locate where they can be successful, and the governor’s proposed elimination of corporate taxes is crucial. “Up until the Governor’s announcement we didn’t have many arrows in our quiver. And the ones we did have were sort of dull tipped and the feathers were frayed. His proposals really give us some new arrows that we can use to convince businesses that New York is the place that they want to be. The Governor’s proposal to eliminate corporate taxes from manufacturers in New York makes us much more competitive and would give the manufacturing sector the funds to invest, to grow and to create jobs. Make no mistake, it’s the private sector that creates the jobs. Government doesn’t create jobs. What government’s role should be is to create an environment that fosters job creation. And I think the governor’s proposals do that.”
Lakeside Container is a family owned manufacturer of corrugated products. In 2002, it moved to a new state of the art 60-thousand square foot facility to better compete in the marketplace. Overlooking the manufacturing floor, company co-owner and general manager George Bouyea said the governor’s economic development proposals are a “big deal” because more manufacturing is needed across the state. “If we can bring in more manufacturing with some of these incentives, it enables a small manufacturer like ourselves to access more customers. And if we can get more customers, it yields more production. If we yield more production, we need more labor. If we need more labor, we create new jobs and additional jobs. The legislation that’s being proposed is a real good step in the right direction. It’s also exciting to see that there’s some incentives and benefits to existing businesses. I think that’s key.”
Garry Douglas says there is an opportunity for the state to take an “enormous next step” economically, if the legislature embraces Cuomo’s fiscal and tax relief proposals. “We need to make sure the entire Legislature gets on board behind this, particularly down-staters. So hopefully a stronger message from upstate and partnership with coalitions we’re in will help to make sure they’re all aware of what the Governor has tabled and what the potential impacts are.”
The Chamber will lobby the legislature to pass the economic initiatives and is coordinating with upstate economic development organizations to push its message in Albany.