Senate Republicans Blast Democrat Plan to Strip Businesses of Empire Zone Benefits They Are Entitled To

William J. Larkin, Jr.

May 29, 2009

GOP warned changes would gut program, result in thousands of job losses

Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) announced today that more than 2,000 companies across the State  - -  including many in the Hudson Valley - -  could retroactively lose their existing Empire Zone benefits under a drastic plan approved by Democrats in the State Budget that is now being implemented by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC).

Senator Larkin joined his Republican colleagues in opposing the plan, which strips businesses of Empire Zone tax breaks that they have previously qualified for under the State’s preeminent job-creation program, and warned at the time that its approval could result in the loss of thousands of jobs.

“New York’s small and large businesses are already dealing with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” said Larkin, “The State should be focusing on doing all that it can to create and retain jobs so we can emerge from the current fiscal crisis as quickly as possible. By allowing this extreme and shortsighted plan to go forward Democrats are making it more difficult for businesses to survive.” 

Within the last week, ESDC has issued letters to the approximately 8,000 businesses which qualified for tax breaks and other benefits under the previous Empire Zone regulations.  More than 2,000 of those businesses have received letters stating that they have been terminated from the program or are at risk of being terminated.

Senate Republicans offered an amendment during budget deliberations that would have ensured the State put in place a number of initiatives to create jobs for workers and protected Empire Zone benefits which companies had previously qualified for.  Democrats rejected the amendment in a party line vote, Senator Larkin explained.

“Many of these businesses, which make up the lifeblood of our community, have received letters stating that they are being decertified from the program.  By retroactively stripping businesses of these important tax breaks, Democrats have given New York businesses one more reason to pick up and leave the State,” said Senator Larkin.