Former Governor Andrew Cuomo got the Start-Up NY program rolling in 2014. The program offered a decade of tax-free status to tech companies that would set up operations in New York State and create partnerships with colleges and universities in the region. However, the program has never delivered as expected.

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The anticipated results would have provided a two-part benefit for the state: new jobs to stimulate the economy and by connecting the project with colleges, young people may stop moving away from the Empire State. Too many businesses have walked away from the tax incentive. Current Governor Kathy Hochul wants to expand the program and decrease much of the restrictive criteria and paperwork.

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According to James T. Madore of newsday.com, in her State of the State address last week, Hochul proposed the 'Extended Prosperity and Innovation Campuses initiative.' The revised Start-Up NY program would still offer of tax-free status to small tech firms with strong collegiate ties. However, the governor would be open to “a wider range of innovation businesses, be streamlined to remove barriers.” The governor also wanted to provide the start-up businesses with more office and laboratory space.

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The report said that the Start-Up NY program has struggled to attract and retain companies. In the first two years, New York tax payers spent $53 million in advertising for the program with little success. Businesses that have attempted to utilize the program, report that the much of the data, paperwork and qualifying criteria. Madore reported that the governor agreed that Start-UP “was hamstrung by its design” especially involving program requirements, tax benefits and eligibility criteria that may differ between downstate and upstate.

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As reported on newsday.com, Start-Up NY had 200 participants in 2020. Those businesses invested a total of $28.2 million in their New York locations. The tech companies employed 2,154 workers. In the end, the program saved the businesses more than $15 million in taxes. In a state with a spending budget of $101 billion, the program seems like pennies on the millions being invested in the state's future. If it will help keep the youngest brightest minds in the Empire State, keep it rolling and invest more.

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