The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Agreement on tax-free proposal

BY Shannon Luibrand

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday he has come to an agreement with legislative leaders on legislation for START-UP NY, a modification of the Governor’s Tax-Free NY proposal.

The initiative will create tax-fee areas at State University of New York campuses, providing tax-free communities for start up businesses and their employees, in hopes of revitalizing and transforming the upstate region.

Sen. James L. Seward, R-Milford, said Cuomo’s new proposal is an improvement.

“The Start-Up NY plan, which has been agreed to by the senate and assembly, is a positive modification of the governor’s Tax-Free NY proposal that I believe will assist with upstate job growth,” he said. “Our SUNY campuses and community colleges remain the centerpiece of the economic development strategy which will make our region of the state a clear focal point for prospective new employers.”

Participating companies in START-UP NY will be excused from paying any taxes for the first ten years of business, such as sales taxes, property taxes and business taxes. In addition, employees of these participating companies will not have to pay income taxes for the first five years. For five years after that, employees will not have to pay taxes on incomes up to $200,000 for individuals, $250,000 for a head of household, and $300,000 for taxpayers filing a joint return.

Cuomo said in a statement that the plan is a desperately needed jump start to the upstate economy. “Today’s agreement on the START-UP NY legislation is a major victory for our Upstate communities as we are now set to launch what will be one of the most ambitious economic development programs our state has seen in decades," he said.

According to Cuomo, START-UP NY will entice companies to bring their business to Upstate, New York. This is done by encouraging these businesses to have the opportunity to operate completely tax-free.

Cuomo explains there is a positive correlation between academia and entrepreneurial activity. The SUNY campus system will serve as the frame-work for the START-UP NY program.

SUNY is eligible for START-UP NY by using:
· Vacant land on the SUNY campus (for every campus outside of New York City)
· Vacant space in buildings on the SUNY campus (for every campus outside of NYC)
· Any business incubator with a bona fide affiliation to the campus, university or college
· Up to 200,000 square feet within one mile of a campus (for every campus north or west of Westchester County), or further with approval from ESD.

Businesses that are eligible for the START-UP tax-free community must be aligned with the mission of the campus, college, or university sponsoring the tax-free community. The business must also provide positive community and economic benefits. Other requirements for businesses include:
· Be a new start-up company
· Be a company from out-of-state that is relocating to New York State; or
· Be the expansion of an existing New York State company – for example, a company creating a new line of business or opening a new advanced manufacturing facility – as long as it can demonstrate that it is creating new jobs and not moving existing jobs.

In 2001, Cuomo was instrumental in leading reform for the Excelsior Jobs program. START-UP NY continues that effort to enhance the job growth opportunities in New York.

“The proposal also revamps the Excelsior Jobs Program in an effort to help existing businesses create jobs, particularly those in the all important manufacturing sector. There is also a new provision that will allow companies to call for a review of state mandates,” Seward said. “These are significant additions that will help meet the needs of companies that have weathered challenging times that we’ve seen in recent years.”

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