Hochul defends Start-Up NY, urges critics to be patient

Apr 21, 2015
Originally published on April 20, 2015 4:17 pm

There have been recent calls for the suspension of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Start-Up NY economic development program.  Those that do follow first-year statistics that show millions spent on promoting a program that’s created just over six dozen jobs.

According to the Start-up NY yearly report released earlier this month, $53 million was spent on marketing and advertising for the program. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says to look further than just those numbers.

"That number is misleading,” Hochul said. “There are 2,800 jobs that have been committed in the short time the Start-Up NY program has been in place.”

Second, she says a program like this doesn’t happen overnight.  

“It takes some time to first of all get the criteria in place,” she said. “Secondly, you have to get universities on board.  They have to come up with their vision for what kind of businesses they want to share their land with.” 

Start-Up NY is the Cuomo administration’s antidote to New York’s high tax climate by creating tax-free zones for new businesses, on or near participating academic campuses.  

Among the 80 businesses approved through the end of 2014, three are in central New York.  Cornell University was the only non-SUNY school approved last year to offer Start-Up perks in central New York. Syracuse University just joined the list this month.

Critics include some Republican lawmakers, as well as the Conservative and Working Family parties, who contend the state is spending too much money for these kinds of results.  Hochul dismisses the critics.

“The messaging is getting out there, so I think it’s premature to judge the value of the program, at this time, because we have commitments,” Hochul said. “It takes time to put shovels in the ground and have companies move here. But it’s all coming.”

Hochul expects next year’s report to tell a different tale, when it comes to job creation. Another 13 businesses have been approved for the program so far in 2015. 

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