Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Wednesday that businesses in his Start-Up NY tax-break program should continue reporting to the state on how many jobs they create and how much money they invest in their operations, despite the requirement being eliminated by the budget he recently signed into law.
Cuomo, speaking to reporters after a bill-signing event in Hauppauge, said, “I believe [Start-Up NY participants] do” file reports annually with Empire State Development, the state agency that oversees the tax-free zones program on college campuses.
“I think you are talking about what they had to report to the legislature, which is different than the reporting requirements to ESD,” he said, responding to a question about the change included in the 2017-18 state budget.
The change repealed language requiring companies to submit information “sufficient . . . to monitor the continued eligibility of the business and its employees” to receive tax benefits.
In the past, failure to file a report has resulted in removal from the program, where companies pay no state and local taxes for up to 10 years and their new employees pay no state income taxes for as long as 10 years.
The reports from Start-Up NY businesses have been used by Empire State Development to publish an annual report on the program for the legislature and governor.
The reports have sparked controversy because Start-Up NY has created 1,135 jobs in 2½ years while the state has spent $53 million to advertise the program.
The new state budget replaces the Start-Up NY report with a larger report on all of the state’s economic development programs.
The budget bill establishing the larger report mistakenly repealed the reporting requirement for Start-Up NY companies, an official with the state Division of the Budget said last week. He said the state is weighing a budget amendment or a new regulation to reinstitute the requirement.
But Cuomo said Wednesday, “I believe the reporting on the state’s economic development activity is more robust than less robust . . . The reporting on the Empire State Development programs now includes all of them rather than just part of them.”