In an attempt to change the perception of New York as a high-tax, anti-business state, Governor Andrew Cuomo is pitching his latest job creating program.

Cuomo was at SUNYIT Thursday afternoon to discuss his Tax-Free NY initiative, aimed at creating a bond between entrepreneurs, academia and regional business. By linking the three together, it ties academia and entrepreneurship together, while preventing the export of young, educated people.

The program involves setting aside 120 million square feet of space using SUNY campuses, private colleges and strategically owned properties to build tax-free communities.

"We have business incubators, we have venture capital funds, we have start up support services," Cuomo said. "But, now you can say on top of all that 'no taxes for ten years.'"

Gino Geruntino, WIBX
Gino Geruntino, WIBX

Start-ups moving into those spaces would pay no sales, property or business taxes for a decade. During his presentation, Cuomo stated that 75 percent of high-tech start up businesses that come into the state leave within their first year. He hopes that the tax free zones will keep those businesses here, while creating jobs and lowering the unemployment rate even further.

"We have to stop people from leaving Upstate New York," "We have to stop jobs from leaving Upstate New York, and we have to reverse that trajectory to have them coming in. I believe zero-tax communities are exactly what we need."

The Governor added that by enticing new businesses from out of the area, upstate New York can continue to grow while economic opportunities are established. During the last decade, upstate New York has seen a five percent growth rate, well below the 11 percent seen throughout the state and the 16 percent growth seen in New York City. The upstate region also falls below the modest nine percent growth rate seen nationwide.

"The tax structure in New York is just not competitive with a lot of states," Cuomo said. "You have states out there that are no-tax states, where the tax rate is zero."

Cuomo hopes to have the Tax-Free New York initiative passed before the state legislature leaves for summer vacation.

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