Senator Alesi calls cutting back on the state's job creation program "simply shortsighted"

James S. Alesi

June 22, 2010

ALBANY - The Senate Democratic Majority passed legislation creating the Excelsior Jobs Program, a targeted economic development initiative that create jobs, attracts new businesses and encourages investment.

Totaling a $1.25 billion investment over 9 years, Excelsior provides tax credits to strategic industries, implements stringent accountability standards, and caps program spending to ensure the wisest investment of taxpayer dollars.

Though the Empire Zone program will no longer accept new participants after June 30, 2010, benefits will stay in effect for those already within the program, as long as they remain in good standing. Businesses will be able to start enrolling in the Excelsior program on July 1; companies can be enrolled in only one of these two benefits programs.

“We are building the foundation for smart and sustainable economic growth that will create the lasting jobs we need to get New Yorkers working again. The Excelsior program employs greater accountability and targeted investment to ensure businesses who receive benefits create jobs and public funds are spent wisely,” said Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson.

Minority Republicans, however, opposed budget legislation that they claim would gut the state’s job creation program, force more taxes on businesses, slash economic investment and make New York State less competitive with other states when it comes to attracting new businesses.  In addition, the budget bill voted on today does not include a five-year capital plan for road and bridge improvements, nor does it restore parity with the MTA capital plan.

“New York needs to do everything it can to help businesses create new private sector jobs, especially Upstate,” Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said.  “Unfortunately, Governor Paterson and his fellow Democrats voted to eliminate the Empire Zone program, forcing tax increases on thousands of businesses that will lose Empire Zone tax benefits, and voted to reduce by 90 percent, money used to attract and retain jobs. Surely now other states will be stepping up their efforts to lure companies that want to escape New York’s high taxes.”

The budget extender submitted by Governor Paterson, and approved today by Senate Democrats, replaces Empire Zones with the new Excelsior program, along with cutting funds for economic development from more than half a billion dollars down to just $50 million.  In addition, the money is targeted only for certain industries.

“Senate Republicans have proposed alternatives to reduce state spending by billions of dollars, but cutting back on efforts to create jobs is simply shortsighted,” Senator Jim Alesi (R-C-I, Perinton), ranking Republican on the Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee, said “This is on top of actions by the Democrats last year to increase taxes on businesses by billions of dollars including increases in utility taxes, income taxes, payroll taxes, health insurance taxes, and countless other taxes and fees on businesses.”