ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s “Start-Up New York” program created to lure employers to New York has so far cost taxpayers $15.2 million in slick TV commercials and other ads nationwide, with over 40 percent run within the state.
The total budget is $150 million, approved by the State Legislature.
The program Cuomo created as a centerpiece of his upstate economic development effort offers employers no taxes for 10 years if they set up shop in New York. The program is open to companies in other states, but also to companies within New York initiating “start-up” companies.
So far, the program has cost taxpayers $4.1 million in advertising in New York City, $2.1 million in upstate markets, and $8.9 million in ads placed in other states, according to state records.
The state also projects the innovative program will cost $323 million in tax revenues from companies that would have moved or grown in New York anyway, without the tax-free program. Those companies include those already talking to the Cuomo administration about moving to New York when Cuomo announced the program a year ago.
Cuomo expects his program to more than recoup that projected loss.
The Cuomo administration notes the governor isn’t in the TV ads, which is prohibited in most cases by state law. But the third line of the website begins with, “START-UP NY, Governor Cuomo’s groundbreaking initiative, is transforming communities across the state into tax-free sites for new and expanding businesses.”
Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino has said the TV ads are intended to promote Cuomo’s re-election bid and present a false impression that New York’s economy is humming along well.
“If the only purpose is to pump up his numbers, then he should reimburse the taxpayers," Astorino told the Conservative Political Action Committee earlier this year.
“The goal of START-UP NY — the game changing initiative passed with overwhelming bipartisan support last year — is to create new jobs, attract new businesses, and encourage current companies to expand, which is why we are investing the resources necessary to get the word out to companies in New York State and across the country,” said Jason Conwall, press secretary for the state’s Empire State Development Corp.