ALBANY -- Republican Rob Astorino told state Conservative Party leaders Monday that New York is "losing" under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and accused him of using state funds to pay for ads to serve his re-election campaign.
The Westchester County executive, who is considering a run against Democrat Cuomo this year, said the TV ad blitz for Cuomo's Start-Up NY program is inaccurate in claiming the state has become business friendly under the governor. Astorino said most or all of the ads for the program, designed to lure out-of-state employers, are running within the state.
"If the only purpose is to pump up his numbers, then he should reimburse the taxpayers," Astorino told a morning meeting of the Conservative political action committee.
The Start-Up NY ads, which don't mention Cuomo, project an image of New York as a place where businesses are growing and returning to the state. Cuomo's Start-Up NY program allows new employers to operate for 10 years tax-free.
Rodney Capel of the state Democratic Committee, which is headed by Cuomo, noted that Westchester is one of the highest-taxed counties in the nation. "The truth is Westchester County has been losing under Rob Astorino," Capel said.
Democratic officials said not all of the TV ads run within New York. Those running in-state seek to reach existing businesses that could qualify for Start-Up NY if they substantially expand, or are aimed at venture capitalists.
Unemployment has dropped in New York under Cuomo and is he now proposing a package of tax cuts for homeowners, renters and businesses. Cuomo also has noted upturns in several fields including tourism.