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Starting up upstate

By Lombardo David
Saturday, June 22, 2013

Most Capital Region state legislators rallied behind Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to create tax free zones in upstate New York.

Assemblyman Peter Lopez, R-Schoharie, said during floor debates that he liked how the bill changed the excelsior job credits to have a lower threshold.

"It's not a perfect bill," Lopez said. "There is more we can do .. but it is a step forward."

Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Colonie, said the proposal only looks good on first glance. "However, as I delve deeper into the specifics of the program, it becomes clear it’s not in the best interest of the Capital Region’s economy," he said in a statement.

Steck argued that the program resembled the state's Empire Zones program, which he said was a failure. He added that the program will negatively impact existing businesses that try to compete with the businesses benefiting from no taxes.

Fellow Assembly Democrat, Angelo Santabarbara took a different view, calling it a bold initiative in a statement. He said the result will be more public-private partnerships.

"What were once booming manufacturing economies in cities like Schenectady and Amsterdam are now slowly making a comeback due to the investments made in technological innovations. In order for us to take full advantage of this change in tide, we need to harness our best resources, including our colleges and universities, to bring new businesses and jobs to our area," Santabarbara said.

State Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, said in a statement, “Job growth continues to be a considerable concern statewide, and the innovative Start-Up NY program will be another way to encourage upstate economic development by linking new businesses with our already successful SUNY campuses."

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