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Cuomo touts tax-free plan for new businesses

ALBANY -- High-tech businesses from other states and abroad that move to college campuses or nearby in New York would operate completely tax-free for 10 years under a proposal released yesterday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, including no income tax for entrepreneurs and workers.

The proposal would waive all business and property taxes as well as income taxes for companies bringing in new business. New York is one of the nation's highest-taxed states and the plan would serve as a way to create jobs in a long-stagnant upstate economy. The businesses would have to locate on a campus of a public or private university or adjacent properties being identified for the proposed program.

The tax-free benefits would last five to 10 years, depending on the deal struck with companies, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said. He said he will insist that current New Yorkers benefit from the new jobs and there would be serious "claw back" provisions and penalties for companies that fail to meet promises of jobs and development.

Silver says that project has been discussed for weeks and he expects it to be adopted by the Legislature before the end of its session June 20.

Cuomo wouldn't answer questions after his presentation, held at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, part of the University at Albany, in a space where President Barack Obama was a cheerleader one year ago for states seeking a place in the competitive high-technology economy.

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