Cuomo signs SUNY tax-free zone bill

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo discusses Start-Up NY New York Governor Andrew Cuomo discusses Start-Up NY at SUNY College at Old Westbury in Old Westbury. (June 28, 2013) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Friday gave an end of this year's State Legislature speech at SUNY Old Westbury that concluded with his signing a bill there that creates 10-year tax-free zones for new businesses that locate on state college campuses and for their employees.

"This has been one of the most productive legislative sessions on record," Cuomo said. "Over the past two years, we've changed the economic development paradigm from an Albany-top-down model to a jobs agenda built from the ground up . . . We ended this year's session with major initiatives to jump-start the economy here on Long Island, including Start-Up NY to create tax-free communities around our SUNY schools to attract new business."

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All three State University of New York campuses on Long Island and each county's community college, as well as an undisclosed number of private colleges, can participate in Start-Up NY. The project would allow the campus-related companies and their employees not to pay taxes, including sales, income and property taxes, for up to 10 years.

After the speech, Cuomo again criticized the Long Island Power Authority, which will be significantly overhauled under a bill proposed by Cuomo and passed by the State Legislature recently.

"LIPA was a bad idea that should have been replaced 20 years ago," the governor said. "I thought it was dangerous [to people] to have LIPA involved in [superstorm] Sandy. They exceeded their mandate and their competence."

Under the bill, PSEG of New Jersey will take nearly total control of the Long Island electric system. "Now we have a qualified company for the service . . . with state oversight. We also have a two-year rate freeze, while LIPA was planning to raise the rate," Cuomo said.

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Following up on recent reports of alleged misconduct by state officials, Cuomo said he would set up an investigatory commission of top law enforcement leaders -- from both major political parties and from around the state -- to keep watch for potential political corruption "so that people will know there is nothing to worry about."

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