Senate Budget Plan Expands Empire Zones

James L. Seward

March 11, 2005

The 2005-2006 budget resolution that will be adopted by the New York State Senate next week will facilitate empire zones in Greene, Schoharie and Tompkins Counties, State Senator James L. Seward said today. The three counties in the 51st Senatorial District are currently without their own zones.

"The senate's position going in to budget talks with the assembly is that each county should have its own zone," Seward said. "Working with local officials, I have made the addition of zones a budget priority for those counties in my district without them.

"Empire zones are an economic development tool to help generate jobs and business investment, and counties without them are at a disadvantage -- it's just that simple," Seward added. "In addition, we're adding an 'ag zone' as a component of our plan to foster the growth of agri-businesses and markets for food-processing."

The additional zones would be phased-in through the 2007 fiscal year, and the program would be extended until 2015 in order to provide predictability and to facilitate long term investment for businesses. The senate's plan enhances accountability and extends empire zones to promote agriculture and agri-businesses.

In Seward's district, economic development and planning officials have asked for predictability in zone benefits and longevity. Counties currently without zones have requested their own zones in order to compete for jobs and business investment.

"I have made this issue a senate priority -- and now we hope that the assembly will join us in providing parity and equity for the counties without zones as finalize a state budget," Seward concluded.