Gov. Andrew Cuomo was at SUNY Plattsburgh this morning pitching his idea for tax free economic development zones at SUNY campuses.
Cuomo is pushing this hard; besides Clinton County, he’s got stops today in Broome, Genesee, Oneida and Westchester counties today as well. The idea is to provide a 10-year abatement of all taxes — sales, property, corporate, state income taxes and fees – for the business in the zone and its employees.
Brian Mann will have a full story tomorrow morning, on air and on our news page. But more details of the plan are emerging…sort of.
I talked with Potsdam Village Mayor Steve Yurgartis, who said with 70% of the property in the village already tax exempt, he grimaces anytime anybody says “tax free.” But he hadn’t gotten any hard information from the Cuomo Administration yet, so he’s keeping an open mind. That brought a call from the governor’s Albany office (“one important point…”) saying this latest plan won’t take any more land off the tax rolls. Here’s what the governor’s press release from yesterday says:
SUNY Campuses and Surrounding Area: Tax-Free communities will include SUNY campuses and an additional 200K sq. ft. that could be located within one mile of the campus. ESD would have the authority to grant a waiver to go beyond 1 mile. For projects on public education campuses, plans will be reviewed by SUNY and ESD. Plans that do not meet the Tax-Free NY program requirements will be disapproved by ESD.
Over the phone, I was told the additional, off-campus square footage would be subject to PILOT agreements with local authorities. The idea is to protect the local tax rolls. But as to the state taxes, the governor told NCPR in Plattsburgh that he’s happy to take the hit if it’ll help restart the upstate economy.