Last Wednesday, the Assembly’s Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry held a public hearing on the state’s economic development programs.
Empire State Development Corp. CEO Howard Zemsky faced sharp questioning from lawmakers on the state’s economic development spending and system of targeted tax breaks for companies. The state’s START-UP New York program, which offers 10 years of tax-free operation for companies that create new jobs, was particularly scrutinized. According to a report released in early July, the program has created 408 jobs, despite a $53 million advertising campaign.
Zemsky insisted that the state’s economic development efforts are working, citing the state’s record number of jobs and low unemployment rate. He said that START-UP NY is helping to change the state’s anti-business image, and that it will take some time for the program to create the thousands of jobs that are expected.
It is important for the Legislature to look at the state’s economic programs to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used properly and where they are most needed. But if we truly want to change the trajectory of our state, we have to look at the state’s economic development efforts in the context of overall state policies – some of the highest state and local taxes in the nation; over-regulation; and expensive new mandates on job creators, including a minimum wage increase and a paid family leave program.