In January, the Governor combined his State of the State address and Executive Budget proposal to outline a bold and comprehensive agenda for New York State. Geared towards continuing the state’s forward momentum and ensuring that New York is a place people want to live and do business, we are creating a “State of Opportunity” where companies are thriving and industries are flourishing, creating critical private sector jobs for hard-working New Yorkers.
Regional Economic Development Councils: Empowering Local Stakeholders
The Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) were established in 2011 to transform the state’s approach to economic development from an Albany-centric, top-down model to one that is community-based and performance-driven, in order to empower local stakeholders to spearhead regional priority projects and spur economic growth throughout the state’s 10 regions. The REDCs are public-private partnerships composed of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations, which have developed five-year plans for economic growth and state investment.
The REDCs have certainly delivered on their end, awarding nearly $3 billion in competitive funding over four rounds of REDC competitions, providing key support to over 3,100 projects that are expected to create and retain 150,000 jobs throughout the state.
START-UP NY: You Can’t Beat Zero
New York made a statement last year by launching START-UP NY, the game- changing, first-of-its-kind economic development initiative that establishes tax-free areas on college campuses to help businesses start-up and scale-up, expand, or relocate to New York. The business/higher education partnerships are continuing to grow – right now, 66 public and private colleges and universities are helping to jump-start entrepreneurship and job creation in more than 385 tax-free zones, representing well over four million square-feet of tax-free space available to businesses of all sizes.
In the last 12 months, we have admitted 83 companies to the program. In return for tax-free status, these businesses have promised to create more than 2,500 new jobs and invest $133.5 million in communities across the state.
However, with dozens of businesses applying each month, this is just the tip of the iceberg for START-UP NY. There is no other tax incentive program in the U.S. like it, and as more companies join and more tax-free areas are designated, the program will continue to expand and help more companies grow their business, and jobs, in New York State.
Innovation Capital Fund: Seed Funding to Secure the Future
Launched last year, the New York State Innovation Venture Capital Fund (NYSIVC) is a seed stage and early stage venture capital fund with up to $50 million to support and attract new high-growth businesses. The NYSIVC Fund will provide critical funding to promote the commercialization of new technologies, incentivize economic growth and encourage job creation across the state. The fund is expected to leverage at least $100 million in private capital to support high growth areas including advanced materials, clean technology, life sciences and biotechnology, and information technology.
At the time of the program’s launch, Governor Cuomo said, “New York is home to some of the brightest minds in the world – and by launching this fund we’re helping these budding entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market right here in the Empire State. With this action, we’re continuing New York’s legacy of innovation, as well as making another solid investment in this state’s future.”
Expanding New York’s Global Presence
New York has gone global with our GLOBAL NY initiative, which is expanding New York’s borders by opening its doors to foreign markets and investors and establishing a peer-based network to help local and regional leaders develop and implement global trade and investment.
Over the course of Governor Cuomo’s four years in office, we have succeeded in cutting red tape and bringing down the cost of doing business in New York – taxes are lower today for every single New Yorker and we have the lowest tax rate for manufacturers – zero – since it was established nearly a century ago. GLOBAL NY takes advantage of these positive changes in our economy by opening new markets to businesses across the state, so that we can share with business communities around the world that nowhere else can you find the tools, talent and resources to grow and compete than the Empire State.
In 2015, GLOBAL NY will launch a variety of initiatives aimed at expanding opportunities for New York’s businesses across a multitude of sectors. We will soon launch the GLOBAL NY Development Program, a $35 million program dedicated to encouraging more New York-based companies to export their products to established and emerging markets around the globe. The GLOBAL NY Development Program will provide grants and loans to help small- and medium-sized businesses explore new exporting opportunities or global expansion.
Support for Small Business, Our Economic Backbone
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, accounting for 43 percent of private sector employment and 35 percent of private sector wages in New York State. To support the growth of this critical sector, we are dedicated to removing barriers like burdensome taxing and regulations. A recently announced small business income tax reduction will reduce the net income tax rate from the current 6.5 percent to 2.5 percent over a three-year period for small businesses. This rate will be the lowest net income tax rate for small businesses in nearly a century. In addition to the reduction, a set of new resources for small business owners, such as a small business summit and the creation of NY Business Express, a one-stop shop, will make starting and growing businesses in New York State easier than ever.
Today in New York State, all the arrows are pointing in the right direction: private sector jobs are at an all-time high, while unemployment has dropped in all 62 counties; billion dollar deficits have turned into a multi-billion dollar surplus; taxes are going down and business growth is up – all of which puts us on the path to a stronger, more competitive 21st Century economy.
With the delivery of four on-time budgets in a row, and a fifth on the way, upgraded ratings from “The Big Three” credit rating agencies – Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s and Fitch Group – and a host of innovative economic development initiatives, New York State is absolutely headed in the right direction.
The bottom line for businesses is New York is no longer a tax capitol, nor a barrier to business growth. In recent years, we have made great strides in our efforts to improve the Empire State’s business climate and right now, and are poised to take a giant leap forward in 2015, transforming New York State into a true State of Economic Opportunity.