New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is traveling across the state to build support for his Tax-Free New York initiative. This morning he was at SUNY Plattsburgh.
The Tax-Free NY concept hopes to capitalize on jobs that are being created at higher education facilities. Governor Cuomo’s speech Thursday morning, the latest in a series of stops at SUNY campuses, offered a strong conceptual plan, but provided few details. The governor said he wants to build on other successful initiatives that the state has undertaken since he took office, such as regional economic development councils. His Tax-Free NY plan would create business incubators on and surrounding SUNY campuses that would be completely tax free.
The 64 SUNY campuses are eligible for the program. In addition, a three-member board will choose from a 3 million square foot pool for private university space and 20 state-owned properties. Governor Cuomo claims the plan, already facing criticism from the powerful union CSEA, would not result in lost revenue nor lost property taxes to local municipalities.
Cuomo points to the University at Albany as a successful model for the program.
Those attending the governor’s presentation were enthusiastic. Clinton Community College President John Jablonski says while the details haven’t been fleshed out, it has great potential for students and to attract business. But as it moves through the legislative process, Jablonski wants details clarified.
Cuomo noted that the new high-tech economy is being created from higher education, yet 75 percent of high-tech entrepreneurs leave the state within a year of creating their business. He believes the Tax-Free NY program will be a game changer for the upstate economy. Clarkson University President and Co-Chair of the North Country Economic Development Council Tony Collins calls the concept a new paradigm that will add new sources of revenue through a new tax environment.
The governor called on those attending his presentation to contact legislators in Albany to support the Tax-Free NY initiative.