Gov. Andrew Cuomo and members of his administration are traveling around the state to promote the governor’s Tax-Free NY initiative, which will allow businesses to operate tax free for 10 years on State University of New York campuses outside New York City and designated private universities north of Westchester County. The businesses would be exempt from sales, property and corporate taxes during that time, and employees would not have to pay income taxes for five years.
The governor said Tax-Free NY will bring start-ups, venture capitalists, new businesses and investments to New York, where there are 64 SUNY campuses. Three million square feet of commercial space will be available at private universities, and 20 strategic state assets will be designated as tax-free. All independent colleges are eligible to apply in a competitive process. A three-member board selected by the governor, Senate and Assembly will choose the winners.
“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 announcing the program this month. “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.”
Tax-Free NY requires approval from the state Legislature, but legislative leaders have said they support it. Cuomo’s office hasn’t estimated how much the program would cost the state.