HARRISON, N.Y. -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced his plan to turn SUNY college campuses into tax-free communities at his End of Session Report at Purchase College in Harrison Thursday.
The plan would allow businesses to move into the communities and operate without paying taxes for 10 years. That would include income tax for employees, sales, property and business taxes. The initiative has been dubbed SUNY Tax-free Areas to Revitalize and Transform UPstate NY, or START-UP NY .
"I believe this has the potential to be a game changer for the parts of the state that are struggling," Cuomo said. He said that new businesses are being generated in the college system, but that 75 percent of businesses leave New York in the first year because of high taxes.
"We have great schools and great minds, but we just can't keep the jobs."
Businesses eligible for the START-UP NY plan would include new start-up companies, companies from out of state that are relocating to New York, or expansions of existing New York businesses. Every business would be required to create and maintain new jobs. Cuomo said that there is 120 million square feet of eligible tax-free space across SUNY's 64 campuses, which is more commercial space than San Francisco and Philadelphia combined.
"It's going to be especially important in upstate New York, which is devastated economically, and has been for a long time," he said.
There will be a referendum in November on allowing casino gaming in New York, which Cuomo believes will bring more money into the state and create new jobs. He said the state is losing money because people are going to neighboring states for casino gaming, and this will help keep that money in New York.
"We don't want just casino gaming, we want to use it to incite major resort developments that will drive real economics," Cuomo said. "It's about the jobs, it's about the resort, and we believe we can actually have a major regional economic impact."
The state has come to agreements with three Native American tribes to have gaming in their areas. The revenue from the casino resorts would be shared across the entire state, with 10 perent being split between the host municipality and the host county, 10 percent going to other counties int he region, and 80 percent used for elementary and secondary education and property tax relief.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.