Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo defended his signature business tax-incentive program Thursday against criticism by Donald Trump, saying Start-Up NY is behind “great progress” in economic development.
“What we’re about is promoting economic development, promoting job growth, and we want to make sure that businesses come to New York and locate in New York,” Cuomo told reporters after an unrelated event in lower Manhattan. “We have states all day long trying to steal our businesses, lure them to other states.”
Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, challenged the effectiveness of the Start-Up NY ad campaign Wednesday night in Times Square, when he accepted the endorsement and nomination of the state’s Conservative Party.
“I’ve never seen an ad that’s been on so much and so long. … I just wonder, how much business has been gotten from that ad?” Trump asked.
Supporters in the crowd shouted, “Nothing!” and “Not much!”
The candidate said he didn’t know how much has been spent on the ads, “but I guarantee you the money would have been better spent doing something else because I don’t think a lot of people have signed up.”
A July state report showed the Start-Up NY program created 408 jobs since it was launched two years ago. The ad campaign cost $53 million. Cuomo’s initiative has faced other criticism, including from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, about its results.
Cuomo, a Democrat who backs Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton, joked that the state’s pro-growth model has worked with Trump and noted that the real estate magnate hasn’t moved his business from New York.
“Obviously, the message is effective, because the last time I checked Donald Trump is located in the state of New York,” the governor said.