Niagara Gazette — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a plan to develop "tax-free communities" for new businesses on higher-education campuses throughout the state during a visit to Western New York on Wednesday.
Cuomo’s “Tax-Free NY” plan would eliminate all taxes – including income tax for employees - for new companies that locate on and around college campuses.
The initiative is aimed at combatting New York’s image as a bad place to do business and to capitalize on the high-quality public schools of the State University of New York system, Cuomo said.
“New York is a high-tax state,” Cuomo said in a packed auditorium on the State University of New York at Buffalo's north campus in Amherst. “That’s the problem. That’s the perception. We want to shatter that perception, and that’s what we’re trying to do with the program we’re announcing today.”
State schools – including Niagara County Community College and UB – would see the lion’s share of the available tax-free space with 120 million square feet of space for businesses planned. The initiative would offer another three million square feet of space for private universities. Up to 200,000 square feet of additional tax-free space will be available in the community surrounding selected campuses, according to the governor's office.
New businesses located in the communities would pay no taxes for the first 10 years of their existence under the plan.
Cuomo believes the initiative would make New York one of the most competitive business climates in the country.
"There is no place you could go in the United States of America where you would pay less taxes than you are paying in these communities," Cuomo said.
Cuomo said that while the state university system produces a large pool of talented, young minds, it fails to capitalize on that asset, as high taxes and “red tape” often chase young entrepreneurs to other places after they graduate.