In efforts to build New York’s economy and to create jobs, the New York State Senate passed legislation to launch START-UP NY, an initiative that would create tax-free areas around colleges, universities and other designated areas across the state. The bill would also address regulatory relief issues for businesses.
“The START-UP NY program will help build a stronger economy and help businesses create new jobs, particularly in areas of the state that need revitalization the most,” Senate Majority Coalition Leader Dean Skelos said. “The centerpiece of the program, establishing tax-free areas at college campuses, will attract new businesses, investments and jobs to New York and encourage existing businesses to expand here and add jobs.”
Senator Kenneth P. LaValle (R-C-I, Port Jefferson), Chair of the Senate's Higher Education Committee said, “Linking higher education with technology and energy businesses will produce good paying jobs for New Yorkers and establish an environment in which we can challenge Silicon Valley."
The legislation also gives greater authority to the Mandate Relief Council to evaluate regulatory requirements on businesses to determine whether they are unsound or too burdensome. Businesses and local governments will be able to request that specific statues, regulations and rules be reviewed by the council.
The SUNY Tax-Free Areas to Revitalize and Transform Upstate (START-UP) New York program will create tax-free areas on vacant land or space around the state’s colleges and universities. Under the program, businesses will be virtually exempt from all taxes for 10 years, under the following guidelines:
- No corporate income and no personal income taxes on business income;
- No sales and use taxes on personal tangible property and services purchased by businesses;
- No real property taxes due on property owned by a college or university; and
- Employees working at the business will be authorized to claim a personal income tax deduction equal to the wages earned from the business in the tax-free area.
The personal income tax deduction will apply to all wages and salaries in the first five years of tax benefits. In the remaining five years, the deduction will apply to the first $200,000, $250,000, and $300,000 of wages, respectively for single individuals, heads of households, and married couples. The total number of new employees eligible for the income tax deduction will be limited to 10,000 per year.
At SUNY schools and community colleges on Long Island, in New York City and in Westchester County, tax-free areas will be limited to on-campus projects; and businesses locating in the tax free areas will have to be high-tech/bio-tech or start-ups. START-UP NY tax-free areas will also apply to five CUNY schools, one per borough.
In addition, as much as three million square feet of property will be eligible to be tax-free areas at private colleges, including 75,000 square feet per county in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties and each of the five boroughs of New York City
Businesses will not be eligible if they compete with existing businesses in the community that are not within the tax-free area. Following is a list of the types of businesses that are not eligible for the program:
- Retail, wholesale, or personal service businesses;
- Restaurants or hospitality businesses;
- Real estate brokers or real estate management companies;
- Law firms and medical or dental practices
Additionally, business incubators affiliated with a SUNY school will be considered tax-free areas; and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) will designate 20 strategic state assets, including state-owned property that is closed or vacant such as prisons and mental health facilities, as tax-free zones.
The bill was sent to the Governor for his consideration.
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[Source: NYS Senate]