Start-Up NY: A Boom or Bust for Small Businesses?

0
15

Start-up NY A bold new plan designed to attract new businesses and jobs to the Empire State and launched late last year by offering an array of tax friendly incentives—is not receiving the thunderous support and welcome proponents of the initiative had hoped for, according to various sources.

The program—(START-UP NY)—an acronym for SUNY Tax-Free Areas to Revitalize and Transform Upstate NY) is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s highly touted plan is designed to link new and existing businesses with colleges and universities in New York. The most attractive incentive of the plan is that selected areas and businesses can operate without paying taxes for 10 years. According to a media release,  employees of businesses in the program will not have to pay income taxes on their wages for the first five years. For the second five years, employees will pay no taxes on income up to $200,000.   At a recent budget address promoting the plan, Cuomo said, “{They} will be totally tax-free zones. No income tax. No property tax. No sales tax for the owner of the business or for the employees.”

In late February, legislators approved 13-tax free zones tied to the University of Buffalo—a move that is expected to be a harbinger to similar zones across the state. As of  March, at least eight other schools were approved by state legislators—they include Stony Brook University, Cornell University, SUNY Downstate, SUNY Ulster, Monroe Community College, Onondaga Community College and the University of Albany.

However, the program, has not been an overwhelming success story—at least not in the first several months since its inception. For example, exact figures on the number of businesses that have signed up for the program thus far are unavailable.

“I don’t know of any companies that have taken advantage of the START-UP program,” said Richard Levychin, a managing partner at the accounting firm of KBL Certified Public Accountants in New York. The firm is handling some of the financial aspects of the program. And Lloyd Cambridge, director of New York City Business Solutions  a city program under the umbrella of the New York Small Business Services (SBS) did not immediately respond to a request from TNJ.com regarding other aspects of the program–including a preliminary list of new businesses slated to participate in the START-UP-NY.

Lastly, some bloggers contend the initiative is a bust. One posted, “It would be better for all of NY State and it’s citizenry to simply level the playing field for ALL businesses that choose to operate in NY—not just a small token few.”
Another posted, “Instead of ridiculous gimmicks like this, how about making the entire state tax friendly? Obviously, Cuomo understands taxes are driving businesses away, why not do something about it?” To find out more about START-UP NY, visit the organizations website.