The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

No taxes for 10 years

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is advancing a program that would create tax-free zones at the state's public colleges and immediate surroundings.

New business ventures on the campuses or within a 200,000 square foot surrounding area would pay no no income tax for employees, no sales, property or business tax. Eligible businesses would have a relationship to the academic mission of the education center.

"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," Cuomo said in a statement. "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."

Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce President Georgia Van Dyke was skeptical about the potential benefits for the area around the State University of New York at Cobleskill. She noted that there isn't much infrastructure there, which would require a big investment for any business that might want to take advantage of the tax-free zones.

"I'm not sure what sort of an impact it would have," Van Dyke said of the zones, which she felt might alienate existing businesses in the zone.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said in a statement, "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."

Senate Majority Coalition Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, said in a statement, "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."

Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate, said in a statement that this program could help end the states's "brain drain."

"By creating a tax-free zone for businesses that decide to locate on or near SUNY campuses and community colleges, this innovative public-private partnership will improve New York State’s business tax climate," he said.

"The partnership between SUNY Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and private companies has spurred job growth in the Capital Region," Sampson said. "We’re hopeful that Governor Cuomo’s plan will yield similar results in other Upstate communities."

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