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Cuomo says hundreds of companies interested in START-UP

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – As his economic development agency Wednesday proposed emergency rules to implement his START-UP NY program, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said hundreds of companies have expressed an interest in getting tax-free benefits in return for locating start-up businesses on college campuses.

“It will sell itself,’’ Cuomo said of the tax-free program that was approved earlier this year. At an event on Long Island, he added, “I wish I could do zero taxes for the entire state. Unfortunately, I can’t. It’s impossible.’’

Cuomo did not identify any of the companies interested, nor is it certain how serious their interest might be or whether they would even qualify under the law’s provisions that restricts the kinds of companies eligible.

The governor believes the program will lure companies and workers to New York with the promise of no taxation, including for employee wages for 10 years. The companies would be located on public or private colleges, or nearby. Critics call the program a corporate giveaway that only rewards a select few companies while taxes still remain high for other businesses struggling to remain in places like upstate.

The Department of Economic Development Wednesday published in the New York State Register its emergency and proposed rulemaking for the START-UP program. It lists various provisions of the program, including that Cuomo and legislative leaders will be the ones choosing -- through their own handpicked board -- what companies get to locate tax-free at private colleges while those going to state university campuses will need final approval by Cuomo’s economic development commissioner.

The rules note a company must guarantee job creation in the first year and that it “not be engaged in the same line of business that it conducted at any time within the last five years in New York without the approval of the commissioner. Companies must also certify that they “would not compete with another business in the same community but outside the tax-free area.’’

The emergency rulemaking document also shows the governor’s economic development office does not believe it has to conduct an analysis of various effects the tax-free program might have on such things as job creation and impact of lost property tax revenues for localities. Such cost analysis work is often performed by agencies when proposing new rules.

“Because it is evident from the nature of the proposed rule that it will have a net positive impact on small businesses and local government, no further affirmative steps were needed to ascertain that fact and none were taken. Accordingly, a regulatory flexibility analysis for small business and local government is not required and one has not been prepared,’’ the rules state.

As for a “job impact statement,’’ the rules state none is needed because the program “will have either no impact or a positive impact on job and employment opportunities.’’

The new rulemaking notice also includes this paragraph: “Cost to the state government: none.’’ Cuomo’s budget office earlier this year projected the program will cost the state $323 million by 2017. 




Albany | Andrew Cuomo
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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |