Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today outlined details of the Tax-Free NY initiative to college presidents and members of the Regional Economic Development Councils from across the state. Under Tax-Free NY, SUNY campuses and university communities across the state will be transformed into tax-free communities that attract start-ups, venture capital, new business, and investments from across the world.
Today we gathered college presidents and members of the Regional Economic Development Councils to discuss the goals of Tax-Free NY and how to make it a reality, Governor Cuomo said. As local leaders, hailing from the private sector and academia, they know best what the assets and needs are in their communities to make Tax-Free NY a success. They are critical partners in attracting new business and jobs, and I look forward to continuing our work together to grow the Upstate economy.
The Governor met with college presidents and members of the Regional Economic Development Councils today to discuss the implementation of Tax-Free NY, should the Legislature pass the enacting legislation. The meeting featured a keynote speech by Dr. Robert Langer, Institute Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who has 815 issued and pending patents worldwide that have been licensed or sublicensed to over 250 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device companies.
The meeting today also included several panel discussions on how to make Tax-Free NY a success. Presenters and speakers on the panel included:
- Bob Geolas, President and CEO, Research Triangle Park Foundation of North Carolina;
- Gregory Galvin, President and CEO, Kionix;
- Fernando Gomez-Baquero, Co-Founder and CEO, BESS Technologies;
- Danielle Green, Postdoctoral Fellow, Stony Brook University Biomedical Engineering College;
- Martin Babinec, Founder and Chairman, Upstate Venture Connect;
- Gil Medina, Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield, Inc.;
- Bela Musits, Dean of the School of Management, Union Graduate College and Founding Partner of High Peaks Venture Partners;
- Stephen Fleming, Vice Provost, Georgia Techs Enterprise Innovation Institute;
- Dr. Bruce Kingma, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University;
- Marnie Lavigne, Associate Vice President for Economic Development; Director of Business Development, NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences; Co-Director, UB Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology; and
- James S. Senall, President, High Tech Rochester.
Below is a list of college presidents and academic leaders who have expressed support for Tax-Free NY:
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said, The governor's tax free initiative is a historic moment for SUNY and a game changer for New York State. The Governor is capitalizing on our campuses existing strengths while fully empowering them to drive New York's economy. Under this plan, companies will be drawn to New York, particularly upstate, leading to research, innovation, and high quality jobs. SUNY is eager to begin executing Governor Cuomos tax free vision to generate and support job growth state-wide.
Satish K. Tripathi, President, University at Buffalo, said, Governor Cuomo has consistently been a champion of the vital role that UB and our fellow SUNY institutions play in building a strong knowledge-based economy in our regions and state. This exciting proposal has tremendous promise for advancing the work of research universities, like UB, in generating ideas, discoveries and innovations that spur job creation and attract new businesses to our communities.
Robert Jones, President, University at Albany, said, Governor Cuomos Tax-Free plan to energize the upstate New York economy comes at an important time as SUNYs research institutions seek innovative ways to grow its research enterprises and commercialize its intellectual property. The governors plan will help entice businesses who have a relationship with our academic mission to locate in close proximity to our campus which will stimulate collaborations and help drive innovation and entrepreneurship which are the key ingredients to economic vitality. The Tax-Free plan is a win-win for higher education, business and the economic well-being of New York State.
Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, Senior Vice President and CEO, the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, said, The groundbreaking Tax-Free NY initiative further demonstrates Governor Andrew Cuomo's strategic vision and bold leadership in establishing New York as the epicenter of the global nanotechnology industry. This pioneering initiative builds on the Governor's success in harnessing the power of education and innovation to attract jobs, companies and investment from the leading high-tech companies around the world, and in the process, creates exciting career and business opportunities for New Yorkers.
Harvey Stenger, President, Binghamton University, said, We support the Governors effort to reduce taxes for businesses that locate or expand in and around SUNY campuses. From the beginning of Governor Cuomo's term, he has touted the SUNY system as a major economic driver for the state. We believe this latest initiative to be another major step towards bolstering New York's economy by tying economic development to our state universities. Anytime we can create partnerships and connections to the communities around us and anytime we can promote business growth in New York, that is a good thing!
Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, President, Stony Brook University, said, Stony Brook University enthusiastically applauds Governor Cuomos Tax-Free New York plan. It is his most important economic development initiative with SUNY, and yet another example of how he is leading the way to boost New Yorks economy. The Governors vision empowers business owners to capitalize on SUNY's unique assets to help create jobs, foster entrepreneurial initiatives, spark new business and strengthen industry in our local communities. At Stony Brook University, where we have a track record of turning ideas and research into businesses and new products through our Advanced Energy Center of Excellence and our Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology, our Sensor CAT and Biotechnology CAT, the Governors plan not only opens the door, it essentially removes the barriers for start-ups and existing companies to succeed in New York State. This is exactly what our business incubators have needed; it will undoubtedly help launch hundreds of new businesses on Long Island. We look forward to implementing the Tax-Free New York plan at Stony Brook, and working alongside the members of our business community so we can all grow and prosper.
Deborah Stanley, President, SUNY Oswego said, This proposal is in character with the forward thinking of Gov. Cuomo and his confidence in SUNY as an economic engine. It is a next step, and one I am sure will not be the last in Gov. Cuomos plans to make New York state THE preferred location for business growth. We will watch this proposal as it develops, explore the details and use every new opportunity it creates to grow new businesses affiliated with our campus, whether in Oswego or our other locations including our Metro Center in Syracuse. Its an intriguing proposal that has huge potential to bring innovative ventures along with new investment and jobs to our community. Business owners can tap into our student body and graduates for their workforce and, in fact, these new entrepreneurs may come from the ranks of our graduates.
Thomas J. Schwarz, President, Purchase College, said, We salute Governor Cuomo's agenda to stimulate economic growth and would welcome appropriate new business or businesses on or around our campus. A venture that can link to and capitalize on the academic expertise of the campus, while adding value to the college as well as local communities, is one we would fully embrace. As a result, I think a Purchase-related "Tax-Free Community" would generate opportunity for highly creative, entrepreneurial, and enterprising initiatives.
Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., President, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, said, The Tax-Free New York initiative announced by the governor will allow the State University of New York to be better integrated in creating economic opportunity for upstate New York. We thank the governor for his faith in the State University of New York and our ability to transform the landscape of our communities. We look forward to working with our colleagues at Oswego, Upstate Medical University, Cortland and Onondaga Community College to create new opportunities for economic development.
Erik Bitterbaum, President, SUNY Cortland, said, As the largest employer in one of the poorest counties in Upstate New York, SUNY Cortland is extremely excited by the opportunities this program will create for economic growth in our community. It will give businesses additional incentives for locating in Cortland, and it will provide opportunities for faculty to develop research projects with commercial applications. For students, it could turn Cortland into a living laboratory for studying business and entrepreneurism and offer competitive employment opportunities after graduation. SUNY Cortland is already a partner in a new downtown business incubator and recently completed the first year of an exciting new program in entrepreneurism. We look forward to further engaging the area's business community through the governor's Tax Free New York program.
John Schwaller, President, SUNY Potsdam, said, Governor Cuomo has once again demonstrated his support for the important role that SUNY campuses play in the economic development of New York, especially upstate and in the North Country. I am confident that the SUNY Potsdam community -- along with its neighboring campuses -- will explore all opportunities this initiative recommends, as we continue to take the lead in shaping the North Country's resurgence.
Aaron Podolefsky, President, Buffalo State said, The Tax-Free New York initiative has great potential to revitalize and spur economic growth in Western New York and throughout the state. Buffalo State looks forward to learning more about this opportunity and how we may best serve as an active partner. We are thankful for the support of Governor Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Zimpher as we work toward improving business development and creating new jobs in our communities.
David R. Smith, MD, President, SUNY Upstate Medical University, said, The Governors announcement is of a magnitude that presents significant opportunity, and it has an elegant simplicity that makes it feasible. The plan provides a needed prescription for collaborative partnerships that will help New York compete nationally and internationally.
Bjong Wolf Yeigh, President, SUNYIT, said, The "Tax Free NY" initiative is a bold, remarkable idea, and it will be a giant step forward. Legislative support for the Governor's vision would allow SUNYIT to attract major semiconductor businesses and suppliers to our campus, and our example is just one of many that would help to transform the upstate economy.
Christopher Dahl, President, SUNY Geneseo, said, I commend Governor Cuomo for his latest proposal to spur economic development in New York state, Tax-Free NY. It's bold. It's innovative and has great potential to harness the economic development power of the SUNY campuses across upstate. Geneseo specializes in educating New York's future scientific research leaders in the high-need STEM fields science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The technical expertise of Geneseos faculty, combined with the wealth of scientific equipment present on our campus, provides a strong inducement for high-tech start-up companies to locate in the region. I am very optimistic that the initiatives contained in the proposal would provide a strong foundation to employ SUNY campuses in Gov. Cuomos laudable efforts to invigorate New Yorks economy. As Livingston County's largest employer, SUNY Geneseo has the resources and strong enthusiasm to help ensure that the provisions of this proposal have lasting benefits on the upstate economy.
Calvin O. Butts, III, President, SUNY College at Old Westbury, said, SUNY College at Old Westbury and its sister SUNY campuses have long been hubs for innovation and exploration, generating bright and motivated graduates who have fueled the states workforce and supporting faculty who regularly discover cutting edge technologies and new business opportunities. Through Tax-Free NY, Governor Cuomo is actively tying SUNYs history of success to the economic growth of our states future by creating opportunities for jobs, businesses and private investment to grow in communities across New York.
Virginia Horvath, President, SUNY Fredonia, said, "I am very pleased to see that Governor Cuomo, through his recent Tax-Free NY proposal, continues to view the SUNY System as uniquely positioned to catalyze the economic revitalization of the state. SUNY Fredonia welcomes the chance to play a role in any discussion of taxation reform, and I especially hope that those campuses with business incubators, like Fredonia's, will be able to do even more to create incentives to spur economic development within their regions."
Nancy Kleniewski, President, SUNY Oneonta, said, Placing SUNY colleges at the center of the state's economic development efforts recognizes and extends the role that public higher education plays in shaping a vibrant New York. Tax-Free NY paves the way for public-private ventures and aligns well with SUNY Oneonta's strategic focus on community partnership, which is one of six pillars that support our mission. The prospect of investment creating jobs here in Oneonta and within other Upstate communities surrounding SUNY campuses definitely is attractive.
Donald Christian, President, SUNY New Paltz, said, Governor Cuomos Tax Free New York initiative provides an unprecedented pathway for New Paltz and other campuses to achieve our goals of translating institutional strengths into economic benefits for our communities and citizens. I am excited about the opportunity this program creates.
Candace S. Vancko, President, SUNY Delhi, said, Governor Cuomo has again demonstrated his leadership and commitment to promoting economic growth in Upstate New York. Tax Free NY will open the door for exciting new opportunities by providing incentives for entrepreneurs to draw on the academic resources of SUNY campuses by forming economic development partnerships. I want to thank the Governor for his support and look forward to exploring new ways for SUNY Delhi to take a leadership role in business development and job creation in Delaware County.
John Ettling, President, SUNY Plattsburgh, said, Tax-Free NY would open a world of possibilities as it works to match the needs of our students, communities and businesses with the expertise of our faculty. We commend Governor Cuomo for thinking outside the box and for his ongoing commitment to Plattsburgh and the entire North Country Region.
Meg Benke, Acting President, SUNY Empire State, said, Gov. Andrew Cuomos Tax-Free NY initiative is outstanding public policy based on the proven record of success of NY SUNY 2020 and the Regional Economic Development Councils, said College. The direct connection between the college and business will foster innovation, economic development and job creation. Further, Tax-Free NY will enable businesses to access not only SUNY Empire State Colleges technical expertise in academic technologies, open and online learning, but also our faculty expertise in business, technology and sustainability.
John R. Halstead, PhD, President, The College at Brockport, said, We're excited that the Governor is partnering with SUNY on this innovative initiative. SUNY is a key driver of our state's economy and this proposal will further enhance the strong role that we play in transforming our local communities. We're eager to learn more about this initiative and to discover ways in which The College at Brockport can encourage investment in upstate New York and spur vital new business ventures in keeping with our academic mission.
Hubert Keen, President, Farmingdale State College, said, The Governors plan recognizes the valuable role that SUNY campuses such as Farmingdale play in economic development and the creation of jobs. Attracting new companies and creating more private-public partnerships helps create additional employmentand that means more people will stay on Long Island and in-state.
Tony Collins, President, Clarkson University, and Co-Chair, North Country Regional Economic Development Council, said, The Governors Tax-Free NY initiative makes it loud and clear that New York State is open for business and we are ready. Every year we educate more than 29,000 students across the North Country region and we want to give them all a reason to stay and contribute to the growth and vitality of our communities. As part of the Regional Council strategic planning process and the collaboration among the North Country higher education institutions, our region is well-positioned to leverage private investment and new business placement to strengthen connectivity between communities and generate new job growth.
Valerie Nixon, Interim President, Alfred State, said, It benefits everyone to provide opportunities for our graduates to stay in New York, and with this plan Governor Cuomo is laying a strong foundation for our states future. We believe the tax free idea is very innovative and will have a positive effect on our community.
John E. Jablonski, President, Clinton Community College, said, The Governors announcement underscores the important role that colleges and universities play as economic drivers for the state and local economy. Clinton is proud of the work that we do in support of local business and industry, and we look forward to expanding those efforts in partnership with private business and industry. The Governors initiative paves the way for even more of these partnerships in the future. I am particularly proud of the contributions made by the graduates of our technology programs: Electronics Technology, Industrial Technology, Computer Technology, Computer Information Systems, Wind Energy & Turbine Technology, and Environmental Technology. Our graduates are already contributing to the success of local companies like Nova Bus, Bombardier, APG Neuros and Jeffords Steel, to name just a few.
Dr. Daniel P. Larson, President, Cayuga Community College, said, For decades, Upstate New York has been experiencing brain-drain, with our best and brightest graduates leaving the area for jobs and opportunities elsewhere. Were excited at the prospect of being able to be part of a community that encourages our campus members to pursue innovations of their own and attract outside funding. We have done a great job of getting our students to think big, start smart, and Governor Cuomos tax free initiative will help transfer our success at educating tomorrows employees directly into a next-generation, business incubator.
James M. Sunser, Ed.D., President, Genesee Community College, said, History shows that higher education has always been a stimulant to economic growth. Colleges and universities mold our workforces, help business organizations become more productive, generate new technology, and create entrepreneurial ideas and opportunities. Tax-Free New York builds on this tradition. This initiative has the potential to match the economic capital of emerging businesses with the intellectual capital of our colleges and universities. Gov. Cuomos Tax-Free New York proposal is exciting and visionary. I support this initiative with enthusiasm, and look forward to working with our civic and business leaders to bring new growth and opportunity to our local communities.
Dr. Steve Tyrell, President, North Country Community College, said, The all too common arms-lengths relationship colleges have had with economic development would be replaced with higher education leaders taking a center stage role with municipal leaders in the critical task of job creation. For some college leaders and for many faculty, this will appear as a new juncture for SUNY; but one truly necessary for all of us if we are to help New York thrive. Dr. Tyrell added North Country Community College will also work closely with municipal leaders, county and state officials to attract businesses to our campuses in support the Governors initiative. Here in Saranac Lake, I am very fortunate to be able to partner with the mayor and the Village Board. Saranac Lake has much to offer in attracting new businesses to the region and I am pleased that the College can play a role in doing so!
Donald Katt, President, Ulster Community College, said, Governor Cuomos proposal for tax free communities at all 64 campuses of SUNY is more than visionary. It is a bold, big, and novel idea. Part of SUNY Ulsters mission is to play an active role in economic development and have assisted in business startups and expansion in our seven county region with investments exceeding a half billion dollars. The Governors tax free communities idea will only enhance our efforts to revitalize our economy. I applaud the Governor for fully realizing the role SUNY can play as one of the States most effective economic engines. SUNY Ulster fully supports his idea and will begin designing a program to maximize its potential.
Dr. Quintin B. Bullock, President, Schenectady County Community College, said, We were very excited to learn about Governor Cuomos Tax Free New York initiative. Schenectady County Community College is located just blocks from downtown Schenectady, in an area that has slowly started to benefit from revitalization as our campus population has grown. This initiative will help jumpstart further growth here and collaboration with the College and related businesses, helping students transition more easily into the workforce, while also enhancing our regional economy. We encourage the Legislature to join with the Governors office in moving this initiative forward.
Anne Kress, President, Monroe Community College, said, Monroe Community College has many strong business partnerships that promote regional economic development. Governor Cuomos innovative Tax-Free NY plan will provide even more incentives to build such synergistic partnerships, creating jobs and moving our region forward. The success of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council has shown how powerful and effective public/private collaborations can be, and MCC the areas largest provider of workforce education looks forward to this exciting opportunity to help put New York back to work.
Dr. Timothy Killeen, President, the Research Foundation for SUNY, said, Governor Cuomo is leading the way to realizing the full innovation and entrepreneurial potential of New York State. His Tax-free NY initiative and entire innovation agenda bring new and exciting paths of opportunity to New York. SUNY and its Research Foundation are proudly aligned with the Governors vision and are committed to maximizing the unmatched scope, scale and diversity of SUNYs assets to grow research, stimulate innovation and create jobs for the benefit of New York State.
Paul Morell, Director, SUNY Geneseo Small Business Development Center, said, With Governor Cuomo recent announcement of a "Tax-Free NY," to transform SUNY campuses and universities across the state into completely tax-free communities provides a tremendous opportunity for small business growth and economic development in our region. The option for a small business to operate in a tax free environment for 10 years will dramatically impact a small business bottom line profit and loss, critical to early stage survival. This opportunity, while also partnering with higher education institutions in the SUNY system, makes for an attractive option for any entrepreneur or small business owner to reduce costs and focus on profit and performance.
Deborah Stendardi, Vice President for Government and Community Relations, Rochester Institute of Technology, said, We commend Governor Cuomo for generating new ideas such as Tax Free NY as a means of stimulating economic development throughout the State, and particularly in Upstate New York. The success of RITs incubator, Venture Creations, in supporting start-up companies and seeing them graduate into viable and sustainable businesses, is a testament to how universities can contribute to business growth, and any ways in which we can spur additional university-industry collaboration are welcome news indeed. Higher education in the Finger Lakes region is critical to the regions economic development strategy and this concept would further leverage this asset as a win-win for the State and the region, as well as the university and industry partners. And what better way to keep more of our graduates in the region than to provide them and the companies that they may work for with additional tax incentives to remain in the community and build their successful careers here. We look forward to hearing more details about this program, and how RIT can participate. Our longstanding history of partnering with industry through our cooperative education program, as well as our incubator and the new Center for Urban Entrepreneurship that will open this fall in downtown Rochester positions our institution very well to help make this program successful.