New York Governor Andrew Cuomo today unveiled "Tax-Free NY," which he touts as "a game-changing initiative" that will transform SUNY campuses and university communities across the state into tax-free communities.
The initiative is designed to attract start-ups, venture capital, new business, and investments from across the world. Governor Cuomo says Tax-Free NY will entice companies to bring their ventures to upstate New York by offering new businesses the opportunity to operate completely tax-free – including no income tax for employees, no sales, property or business tax – while also partnering with the world-class higher education institutions in the SUNY system.
Cuomo was joined by state leaders, including state Assembly Speaker Silver and Senate Co-Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein, at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Wednesday.
"Over the past two years we have cut middle class tax rates to their lowest rates in sixty years, cut taxes for small businesses, while at the same time investing like never before in our institutions of higher education," Governor Cuomo said. "With unemployment at its lowest in years and more private sector jobs in New York than ever before, we are beginning to see the results of our efforts. Tax-Free NY will supercharge our efforts to grow our economy by transforming localities in Upstate New York into virtual tax-free communities for new businesses and new jobs. Under Tax-Free NY, communities across Upstate will become a magnet for new businesses, new startups, new venture capital, and new jobs, taking our economic development and job creating efforts to a level never seen before."
Temporary President of the New York State Senate Dean G. Skelos said, "The most important thing we can do is provide more jobs for New Yorkers so they can provide for their families. This initiative has the potential to make New York more economically competitive, help us attract businesses from other states and grow our economy for the future. The solution to so many of the concerns we face is the need for more jobs, and I believe that we should spend the rest of the legislative session working to cut taxes to reduce the cost of doing business so we can empower the private sector and create new jobs."
Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader Jeffrey D. Klein said, "In order to compete in today’s hyper-competitive global marketplace, we need to continually develop bold and creative ideas to attract the best and fastest growing companies. Tax free zones are the next frontier in this effort. These zones hold the potential to provide jobs and upward mobility to thousands of unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers while building a brighter economic future for communities across our state."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "Our colleges, universities and community colleges are New York’s greatest competitive advantage and should be the engines that drive our job-creation efforts. Through the Tax Free New York Program, we will transform vacant campus space and land into new jobs and all of the related opportunities that spring up around areas of economic activity. Using the world-class College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering as a model, this program will enhance the academic missions of our colleges and universities, ensure that local graduates can find rewarding opportunities at home, and promote the advancement of emerging technologies."
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said, "The Governor has said many times that SUNY is the economic engine for New York, and these new tax free zones will further our campus' ability to innovate, create jobs, and attract new companies through public private partnerships. I want to thank the governor for supporting SUNY and for continuing to raise the bar for higher education in New York State."
Tax-Free NY includes:
- · Tax-Free Communities: All SUNY campuses outside of New York City and designated private colleges north of Westchester will be tax free (no sales, property, or business/corporate taxes). Up to 200,000 square feet surrounding the campus will included in the tax-free community.
· Employees Exempt from Income Taxes: Employees of businesses that open in Tax-Free NY communities will be exempt from paying income taxes.
· Additional 3 Million Sq. Ft in Commercial Space at Private Universities: Under Tax-Free NY, 3 million sq. ft. in commercial space will be available at New York's private universities and twenty strategic state assets will also be designated tax-free.
· Businesses Eligible for Tax-Free NY: Eligible businesses include companies with a relationship to the academic mission of the university and companies creating new jobs, including new businesses, out-of-state businesses that relocate to New York and existing businesses that expand their New York operations while maintaining their existing jobs.
SUNY's 64 campuses are located in all corners of New York State, and most New Yorkers live near a SUNY campus:
- · 93% of New Yorkers live within 15 miles of a SUNY campus
· 97% of New Yorkers live within 20 miles of a SUNY campus
· 100% of New Yorkers live within 30 miles of a SUNY campus
Unshackle Upstate, an anti-tax, pro-growth group, hails the announcement as another step in the right direction for the upstate economy. But the group warns state leaders they must enact additional tax relief and regulatory reforms for ALL businesses across the state.