By James Nani
CITY OF NEWBURGH — Gov. Andrew Cuomo stopped by the SUNY Orange satellite campus Thursday morning as part of his post-legislative session media blitz, touting his 10-year, tax-free initiative on and near college campuses.
A who's who of local legislators and municipal officials piled into Kaplan Hall, where Cuomo said his new Start-Up NY plan would help create jobs near colleges by allowing them to avoid paying taxes for 10 years.
Companies in START-UP NY would not pay any business or corporate taxes, sales taxes and property taxes for 10 years, Cuomo said. Employees working for those companies would pay no income taxes for the first five years. For the following five years, employees would pay no taxes on income up to $200,000 of wages for individuals, $250,000 for a head of household, and $300,000 for taxpayers filing a joint return.
"Tax free means tax free," Cuomo said. "What more could you want?"
In the plan, every SUNY community college and four-year university outside of New York City can use its vacant land on every campus and vacant space in buildings on the SUNY campuses to create tax-free zones.
Eligible businesses must be a new start-up company, be a company from out-of-state that is relocating to New York, or be an expansion of an existing New York company "as long as it can demonstrate that it is creating new jobs and not moving existing jobs," according to a release by the governor's office.
Though the governor said during the news conference that no businesses would be prohibited from participating, a news release that came out afterward said a number of types of companies will be prohibited from participating in the program, including retail and wholesale businesses and restaurants.
Also banned from the program would be businesses that would compete with other local businesses outside the tax-free area.
Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy said the plan is a wonderful opportunity for Newburgh.
"The more that grows here, everyone wins," Kennedy said.
Jim Taylor of Taylor Recycling Facility in Montgomery was already thinking about ways he could take advantage of Cuomo's plan. He's currently trying to win approvals and funds for a synthetic gasification plant. He said he would consider a research and demonstration education center in a tax-free zone to piggy-back off his gasification plant hopes.
"The thing that comes to my mind is how do I advance Syngas?" Taylor said. "The sky's the limit."