Senator Farley Unveils Upstate Now Plan

Hugh T. Farley

May 22, 2007

My colleagues and I in the New York State Senate Majority unveiled recently an agenda for this region called "Upstate Now."


This 10-point plan includes reducing taxes for small businesses, manufacturers and key industries; building and investing in a 21st Century infrastructure for the upstate economy; making upstate an international powerhouse in new and emerging technologies; and reducing energy costs for employers and promoting energy independence.

Taxes play a key role in helping companies decide where to locate, invest and create new jobs - lower taxes and more tax relief will make us more competitive. The Senate’s plan will help fuel economic growth in upstate for years to come by eliminating income and corporate franchise taxes on upstate’s manufacturers and enacting much needed property tax relief for small businesses - $150 million in direct property tax rebates. The Senate will also pursue efforts to simplify New York’s complex tax code and to reform the Wicks Law.

The Upstate Now agenda calls for hundreds of millions of dollars in targeted investments in Upstate’s infrastructure, such as investing $300 million in capital funds for economic development and emerging technology projects. The Senate is also proposing to create commerce and economic growth zones around regional airports to promote location of new businesses.

We’ve made great strides in attracting high tech and biotech research, but we need to take the next step and have businesses actually manufacture their products in New York. The Senate plan would attract major manufacturers with refundable tax credits, such as those that were successfully used to secure the historic AMD investment in the Capital Region. We are also proposing authorizing a sales tax exemption for businesses in academic incubators to help them grow and succeed.

New York’s small business leaders have consistently cited high energy costs as a major obstacle to future growth, profitability and new job creation. To address this problem, Upstate Now advances a tax credit program that would help eligible small businesses afford the rising cost of energy. This initiative will provide a $350 million refundable energy tax credit to help 386,000 small businesses. In addition the upstate plan will ensure that New York will have renewable energy for the future by offering tax credits for solar energy, fuel cells manufacturing, ethanol production and the use of alternative energies. We also need to extend low-cost power programs, including the Power for Jobs program which has benefited so many manufacturers by assisting with energy costs.

The skyrocketing cost of health insurance forces many businesses to face the difficult decision of shifting more of the cost of coverage to employees, or even dropping coverage entirely. Our plan would significantly reduce the number of uninsured New Yorkers through a combination of tax advantages, government initiatives, and commercial insurance market reforms that would bring health insurance within the means of all New Yorkers.