ALBANY - Calls increased Wednesday to terminate one of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's signature initiatives -- a promise to allow some businesses to operate tax free for 10 years if they locate near state college campuses.
Assembly Republicans, led by Assemb. Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue), said the program Cuomo calls Start-Up NY should be shutdown after creating just 76 jobs in 2014 while spending nearly $50 million on advertising.
"We need to pull the plug on this disaster, stop relying on cheap gimmicks and costly ad campaigns and get back to measures that are proven to work," Murray said at a State Capitol news conference.
Murray said the governor's campaign has "made for great TV commercials but has failed to address the underlying problems" of New York's economy. He said the state should cut business taxes across the board rather than allow those in select locations go tax free.
It was the latest in a hail of criticism about the program, which features well-known actors doing commercial voiceovers to try to entice businesses to relocate. Critics ranging from the Conservative Party on the right to the labor-backed Working Families Party on the left have called for its shutdown. A recent state audit, which reviewed $211 million in ads for Start-Up and other business promotions, said the program produced few tangible results.
The Cuomo administration has said critics aren't giving the initiative time to flower. It contends the program will generate 2,100 jobs over its first five years.
aItas no secret that the far right and the far left donat like this program, but their political rhetoric does not match up with the facts," Jason Conwall, a Cuomo spokesman said in an email. He added that the number of companies that have committed to the program is now up to 121.
Republicans noted that a sizeable chunk -- 21 of 54 -- of the businesses approved to participate in Start-Up merely are existing New York companies relocating for the tax break.