New State Budget Will Create Empire Zone In Every County By End Of '07

George Winner

March 30, 2006

Albany, N.Y.-- State Senator George H. Winner, Jr. (R-C, Elmira) today said that the Legislature’s agreed-upon 2006-07 state budget calls for the expansion of New York’s "Empire Zones" economic development program to create a zone, by the end of 2007, in each of the 9 counties currently without one. Six new Empire Zones will be designated this year, followed by the remaining three next year.

Last year’s state budget authorized 12 new zones statewide, three annually over the course of four years. Winner said that this year’s budget paves the way for the accelerated creation of an Empire Zone in Tompkins and Yates counties in his legislative district.

"This legislative agreement ensures that Tompkins and Yates counties, sooner rather than later, will enjoy the benefit of the Empire Zones program in their quest to compete for jobs and economic opportunties," said Winner.

Winner’s 53rd Senate District includes three counties with existing Empire Zones: Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben. The district also includes Tompkins and Yates counties, which are among the remaining 9 counties statewide currently without a zone.

"It’s been unfair for New York State to keep a small number of counties at such a competitive disadvantage," Winner said.

The Empire Zones program was established in 1986. The zones were originally called "economic development zones." Intended to bolster areas with pockets of poverty, high unemployment, dilapidated industrial and commercial facilities and shrinking tax bases, businesses located within the zones receive significant tax reductions through a range of credits on items including wages, capital investment and property taxes.