Gov. Andrew Cuomo today said “hundreds” of companies have expressed interest in the state’s new tax-free-zone program, but said the next challenge will be converting the interest into commitments.
Speaking to reporters on Long Island, Cuomo touted the benefits of START-UP NY, the program that will allow companies to pay no taxes for 10 years if they create jobs and locate to SUNY campuses and other designated public lands.
And while he said there has been plenty of interest in the program, he’s been working on locking companies down.
“We have hundreds of companies that are expressing interest,” Cuomo said. “That’s different than actually getting the companies here. That’s what I’m focused on. It has to work. Zero taxes has to work.”
Cuomo’s comments came after he attended a meeting of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Committee and a ribbon cutting in Suffolk County.
Earlier this month, Empire State Development President and CEO Ken Adams said the state has received more than 800 applications for the START-UP program.
“I think it’s a natural win and it will sell itself, and that’s what we’re finding,” Cuomo said. “I wish I could do zero taxes for the entire state. Unfortunately, I cant. It’s impossible. But these zero tax zones working with our institutions of higher learning we’re going to get young people here young people staying more jobs and that’s good for the economy overall.”
UPDATE: David Laska, a spokesman for the state Republican Party, offers a response:
“Contrary to what Governor Cuomo keeps saying, statewide tax cuts in New York are not impossible. If the Governor were more interested in economic growth than good press, he would lead the fight for statewide income tax relief, particularly on capital gains. Instead, Cuomo peddles his “START-UP NY” gimmick, which only provides a select few tax breaks to a select few businesses for a select period of time.”
(AP file photo/Mike Groll)