Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today detailed the major accomplishments for Upstate New York that passed the State Legislature in the last days of the legislative session in Syracuse at Onondaga Community College. From the innovative START-UP NY program, a plan to bring resort destinations with casino gaming, and the establishment of a Financial Restructuring Board to help fiscally distressed local governments, communities across Upstate stand to benefit in a major way from the legislation passed at the end of this years session.
This has been one of the most productive legislative sessions on record for communities in Upstate New York, Governor Cuomo said. Over the past two years, weve changed the economic development paradigm from an Albany-top-down model to a jobs agenda built from the ground up. This year, we put those efforts into high gear. From lowering middle class taxes to their lowest rates in sixty years to launching innovative tech-transfer initiatives and investing in higher education, it has already been a banner year for upstate economic development. We ended this years session with not one but three major initiatives to jumpstart the economy Start-Up NY to create tax-free communities to attract new business, a plan to establish four Upstate destination gaming resorts to boost tourism, and a Financial Restructuring Board to help struggling localities manage their finances. For years, Albany has not given Upstate New York the attention it deserves, but with the achievements of this legislative session, there can be no doubt that those days are over and gone.
Senator John A. DeFrancisco said, Its a pleasure to have the Governor come to Central New York again today to highlight recent legislation that is aimed at helping the Central New York economy. His accomplishments to date, in closing multi-billion dollar budget gaps, holding down spending and cutting taxes for middle income New Yorkers, has New York States economy moving in the right direction.
Asesemblyman William Magnarelli said, Governor Cuomo has taken unprecedented strides to revitalize our upstate economy in the 2013 legislative session. By establishing tax free communities around our SUNY institutions under Start-Up NY, the Governor is giving Central New York a tremendous competitive advantage for jobs and private investment. Also, the Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act will provide a tremendous tourism boost to upstate communities, and the Governors work to end the decades-old dispute with the Oneida Indian Nation will ensure local governments receive the tax revenues that are owed to them. I applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing the need for reform in upstate New York, and I look forward to working with him to bring further economic development to Upstate New York.
Robert Simpson, President of CenterState CEO and Co-Chair of the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council said, For years, too many New York businesses have suffered from high taxes or sought opportunities in other states. However, with Governor Cuomos new Start-Up NY program, businesses that align with SUNY institutions can emerge through their high-risk, high-growth-potential phase, without having to pay sales taxes, property taxes, or business taxes. This program will incentivize new investment in our communities, and rejuvenate the Upstate economy that has struggled for much too long.
Onondaga Community College Interim President Meg OConnell said, Onondaga Community College proudly welcomes Governor Cuomo and his Start-Up New York program. We look forward to working with businesses to create economic opportunities for our graduates right here in New York State. Business growth in the areas surrounding SUNY schools will not only revitalize the community, but it will also invigorate our SUNY campuses. I applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing the importance of strengthening our SUNY system in tandem with the private sector to build a more resilient Upstate economy.
Steve Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties said, Settling labor disputes that involve police officers and firefighters can be a complicated and highly sensitive process given the important services these officials provide. Balancing taxpayer equity and employee concerns is always a difficult process. As proposed by Governor Cuomo, the arbitration reforms for uniformed personnel will improve the process and help municipalities continue to protect the public's safety while balancing the interests of their taxpayers. This law expires in three years, which will allow interested parties and the Governor to evaluate the need for additional changes. I commend the Governor, legislature, and the police and fire organizations for working together to bring mandate relief to New York State's local taxpayers.
Peter A. Baynes, Executive Director of the New York State Conference of Mayors said, Since 1974, the expensive mandate known as binding arbitration which was originally enacted as a two-year experiment but has been deemed a sacred cow ever since has blindly ignored the fiscal ability-to-pay of local taxpayers and arbitrarily inflated the cost of police and fire contracts in every region of this state. Thanks to Governor Cuomos leadership, for the first time this inequity will begin to change as arbitrators, in most instances, will be obligated to give taxpayer ability-to-pay the highest consideration, and also take into account the fiscal constraints of the 2% tax cap. Mayors urge the Governor and State Legislature to make this the first of many important steps toward overdue relief from state mandates.
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "I commend Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature for continuing to provide real options for local government reform without any new mandates. I would also like to thank the Governor for including binding arbitration in the agreement. For years, local taxpayers have been forced to pay for expensive arbitration awards which were made without regard for the community's ability to pay and Governor Cuomo's proposal fixes that."
Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen said, "Start-Up New York represents a great opportunity for communities like Oswego to strengthen our local economies and foster the development of long-lasting business relationships. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Lt. Governor Duffy on their commitment to Upstate New York and look forward to working together as this innovative plan is further explored. SUNY campuses are a tremendous resource and we must act decisively to reach their full potential, educating our future leaders and building new business opportunities."
Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin said, I commend Governor Cuomo for his work addressing the challenging issues facing our states most fiscally distressed localities like Cortland. This proposed restructuring board and binding arbitration reforms will allow local governments to pursue comprehensive fiscal plans that put them on a path to solvency. Municipalities like Cortland can benefit greatly from the proposal the Governor has put forward. The Governor has been a leader in reducing state mandates and helping municipalities right-size their finances, and todays agreement marks yet another great step forward for New Yorks localities. I call on the Senate and Assembly to pass this measure before the end of session
Start-Up NYStart-Up NY is an innovative game changer that puts New York at the front of the pack for jobs and private sector investment. This program will allow new and existing businesses to take advantage of all that New York State has to offer without having to pay sales taxes, property taxes, or business taxes no state taxes, period. Additionally, those companys employees will have their income taxes waived for up to ten years. Partnering with New Yorks world-class SUNY education system as well as selected private colleges and universities will also offer our students more opportunities to pursue employment in their fields of study. Not only will businesses seek to stay and flourish in Upstate New York, but so too will our graduates.
By putting the focus on creating tax free communities based around the states leading higher education system, the Governor is aligning struggling Upstate economies with a highly competitive environment that will ensure businesses come to and stay in Upstate New York.
For more information on Start-Up NY, click here.
Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development ActStimulating the economy across Upstate New York requires developing significant local engines of commerce. The Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act grants legislative approval to building four destination gaming resorts in Upstate New York. The addition of world-class resort destinations will highlight the states rising tourism industry, create jobs, and boost local economies. Every year New York has lost revenue to neighboring states with legalized gaming, but under the Governors plan that revenue stream will stay routed in Upstate communities where it belongs. Governor Cuomo also settled long-standing disputes with the Oneida, St. Regis Mohawk, and Seneca Indian Nations, ensuring that local governments receive the tax profits that are owed to them from the existing Indian casinos.
The addition of four world-class resort gaming destinations will greatly increase the flow of spending from tourism throughout Upstate New Yorks regional economies. The Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act will reverse a decades-long trend of outgoing gaming revenues and ensure that local communities receive the benefits they deserve.
For more information on the Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act, click here.
Distressed CitiesUpstate New Yorks municipalities have struggled with declining populations and property values for decades. Rising retirement costs have added to their difficulties, and these tough budget decisions have often put local leaders in a position of having to cut services and jobs. To address these challenges Governor Cuomo created the Financial Restructuring Board, which will work together with local officials to develop cooperative, case-specific strategies to establish a solid fiscal footing from which to operate. New Yorks binding arbitration laws have also been sorely in need of reform for generations. Governor Cuomo has ended Albanys tradition of looking the other way on binding arbitration by establishing a new ability to pay standard which arbitration panels must consider for 70% of their decision on contracts including specifically considering the requirements of the states 2% property tax cap.
The success of the Upstate economy relies on the strength of our communities. For the first time in many years, New York has a Governor taking decisive action to help struggling cities and towns avoid bankruptcy and regain strong economic foundations. By creating the Financial Restructuring Board and delivering badly needed binding arbitration reforms Governor Cuomo is ensuring that local governments across Upstate New York have the ability to dig out of their current fiscal holes and focus instead on improving services and quality of life.
For more information on the Governors initiative to aid distressed cities, click here.
The end of session accomplishments build on initiatives included in the 2013-14 budget that will help grow the Upstate economy:
Tax Cuts for Middle Class Families: Recognizing that New York's taxpayers have been overtaxed for too long, the Budget included $1.23 billion in new tax cuts to middle class families over three years. Families with incomes between $40,000 and $300,000 will be eligible to receive a new child tax credit of $350 per year, beginning in 2014.
Tax Cuts for Businesses: To provide tax relief to New York's job creators, the Budget includes nearly $800 million in tax relief for New York businesses over three years. With this tax relief, the Budget recognizes that cutting taxes sends a positive sign to the private sector that New York is pro-business and helps reverse New York's longstanding reputation as the tax capital of the nation. Hiring Tax Credits: To help New York's returning soldiers and young people find work, the Budget includes a permanent tax credit for the hiring of Veterans, and tax credits for businesses that hire youth.
Investing in the Economy of Tomorrow: The Budget provides the initial funding to launch the Innovation Hot Spots program that will create or designate ten high-tech innovation incubators at locations affiliated with higher education institutions to encourage private-sector growth. In addition, a $50 million Innovation Venture Capital Fund that will provide critical seed and early-stage funding to incentivize new business formation and growth in New York State and facilitate the transition from ideas and research to marketable products.
Building on the Success of the Regional Councils: The Budget includes a third round of the Regional Economic Development Councils including $150 million in new funding and $70 million in tax credits.
SUNY and CUNY Campuses Driving Private Sector Job Creation: The Budget includes $55 million for a third round of the SUNY 2020 program and $55 million to launch the CUNY 2020 program to provide competitive grants for projects that connect economic development and academic excellence.