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Start-Up New York program could help re-coup job losses


Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy says the Start-Up New York program could be used to re-coup job losses caused by Canadian company Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ announcement that they’ll be cutting up to 15 percent of the Bausch + Lomb workforce after their acquisition is complete.

On a conference call Wednesday afternoon, Valeant executives told Duffy that as many as 500 jobs could be cut in Rochester alone.

But, at least for now, he says, the company intends to keep manufacturing operations running in the upstate area.

Duffy says Valeant may also consider bringing other operations to Rochester as they move forward and he has made them aware that Gov. Cuomo’s Start-Up New York program could provide incentives for job creation.

“What I said was, we have a whole incentive package for new jobs and new companies, coming up. And I just want to appeal to Valeant that as they grow in the future, as they look to expand or move other entities that they own, New York state has an incentive package that I don’t believe can be matched by any state in the country.”

“There are incredible opportunities for savings, no taxes for ten years. No income tax, no business franchise taxes, everything. So the incentives and the opportunities for a company, especially in regards to profit margins, are pretty strong.”

The Start-Up New York program is an initiative introduced by Gov. Cuomo in the 2013 executive state budget.

The program aims to foster entrepreneurship and job growth through the creation of tax-free zones associated with colleges and universities in upstate New York.

Local universities have already raised concerns about the impact Valeant's takeover will have on research and development efforts tied to Bausch + Lomb operations.

Duffy says the ability to plug companies into universities with great research capabilities is one of the benefits of the incentives program.

Participating companies will need to be aligned with academic institutions and will be exempt from paying business taxes for 10 years.

Employees also won’t have to pay income tax for the first five years.

Duffy says Valeant was not aware of the incentives program and they’re very interested. He says he’ll be meeting in person with Valeant executives at some point in the next two weeks to promote the program further.

In the company memo lodged with U.S. SEC the company stated it intended to 'reduce headcount by approximately 10-15% across the newly combined company'. It's aiming for a corporate staff level of less than 100 and the memo also announced the departure of ten executives at the VP level.

The memo also outlined targets for growth and operating margins of greater than 20%.

WXXI/Finger Lakes Reporter for the Innovation Trail