Last Monday, Gov. Cuomo released the bill language from his Tax-Free Communities proposal, which was originally called Tax-Free NY. The proposal, which was originally intended to use Upstate SUNY campuses as engines of economic development, now includes some tax-free business development opportunities in New York City and its surrounding counties.

Generally, the proposal would allow for tax-free business development near college campuses throughout the state.  Neither the companies nor their employees would pay state or local taxes, including income, business, property and sales taxes for 10 years. After five years, employees or owners making $200,000 or more would pay some income taxes.

Three million square feet would be allocated north of Westchester County, while 30,000 square feet will be allocated in each of the following counties/boroughs: Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, and the boroughs of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.

The program will also offer tax-free business development opportunities at 20 sites on vacant state land or facilities slated for closure, such as old prisons, outside of New York City and in affiliation with a college or university.

We think that the program has the potential to attract new businesses and much needed jobs Upstate.  But it’s critical that the state also provide some relief – in the form of regulatory relief and tax relief – for the businesses and taxpayers who are already here.

Read more about the initiative here.