START-UP NY: GOOD OR BAD?

Idea

The following is a statement from Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. on START-UP NY Agreement: "Stony Brook University enthusiastically applauds START-UP NY. It is the most important University-based economic development initiative undertaken, and another example of how Governor Cuomo and the leadership in Albany are taking the necessary actions to boost New York’s economy. This groundbreaking legislation empowers business owners to capitalize on higher education’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, START-UP NY 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 START-UP NY at Stony Brook, and working alongside the members of our business community so we can all grow and prosper.”

On the other hand, unions representing workers all across the state panned Start Up NY (formerly Tax Free NY) as bad policy that lacks any semblance of basic fairness. Among the provisions included in Start Up NY is a misguided exemption from state income taxes for workers employed by entities covered under the proposal.

"Everyone agrees that we need to create more jobs in New York State, but even if Start Up NY succeeds in that regard, the cost will be a diminishment of the already scant equity and progressivity that exists in the current tax code," said Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO. "Individuals granted favored status under the proposal, as well as their families, will consume state services, but unlike other New Yorkers will be exempt from helping to pay for them; that's just not right."

"The governor's "Start-Up NY" program creates more loopholes at a time when the state can least afford it," said NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta. "If it becomes law, it would greatly diminish much-needed revenues that could be going to schools, four-year campuses and community colleges. It is bad policy."

"Tax-Free NY , by any name, is a corporate welfare gimmick that further divides New Yorkers," said CSEA President Danny Donohue. " There are better ways to stimulate the economy and pushing this flawed proposal through without serious debate or public input further erodes our democracy."

"The Public Employees Federation is adamantly opposed to the legislation introduced in the Assembly and Senate to create 'Tax Free Zones' in New York State," said PEF President Susan Kent. "The legislature and the Governor should be acting to have corporations and the one percent pay their fair share, but instead are moving to enacting law where corporations and their employees would pay 'no share'. PEF believes it is inherently unfair to create a system where 'special employees' would pay no state taxes. In addition, this plan would increase the pressure on already financially stressed cities, towns and municipalities which would be getting less revenue as a result of this scheme."

Kent added, "PEF is standing with other statewide labor unions opposed to this legislation and our members are activated to work in opposition to this measure. This union will hold the Governor and those legislators who vote in favor of this bad public policy accountable with regard to any revenue arguments made by the state which negatively impacts our members."