Why “Start Up NY”?

Why? Why are you doing this to us, and for us? That is my question. For Governor Cuomo and state politicians.

The politicians just delivered a big new program to upstate businesses. It allows every SUNY school to establish a tax-free community.

Locate your business near or on a campus. Voila! You get big tax breaks. Affiliate with a campus. Same deal.

You will pay no business taxes. No sales taxes. No property taxes. For 10 years. Your workers will pay no state income taxes for five years. Most of them will pay no such taxes for ten years.

The pols are spraining limbs patting themselves on the back over this. They boast that this will boost upstate economies. It will deliver jobs galore. So they tell us. Though they predicted the same for Enterprise Zones. (Remember them?) And for their other job-boosting programs over the years.

College presidents and profs are excited about the program. They should be. For obvious reasons.



Some critics call this yet another attempt by government to pick winners with taxpayer dollars. Such efforts have fallen on their faces the world over. For centuries.

Other critics complain this will hand ventures within the tax-free zones an unfair edge. Over competitors outside. The pols and college guys promise they won’t let this happen. Doubtful they can. So the critics have a point.

Other critics decry the program as biased. Biased for certain locales. Biased against others. That is, against areas that have no SUNY college. And biased against areas that have private schools but no state schools.

I merely pose a question to the politicians. Why are you doing this?

They likely will reply that businesses do better with fewer taxes. Ventures will locate here instead of, say, Texas. Correct. Burdened with fewer taxes, entrepreneurs will be more active. They will create more new ventures. Which will create more new jobs. Agreed. If they face fewer income taxes highly qualified workers will more likely stay in this state. Yes, yes.

Politicians, then, are telling us lower taxes bring about wonderful results.

So, duhh, why don’t you get rid of taxes for the rest of the state? Or at least lower taxes for all? And why don’t you whack away some of the jungle of regulations that chokes businesses in this state?

You tell us you believe lower taxes help businesses and workers. Why then restrict tax relief to a chosen few? You assure us lower taxes are good for economic health. Then why have you inflicted so many taxes upon us over the decades? You are like doctors who tell us tobacco will kill us – but smoke.

You are like the pointy-haired boss in the Dilbert cartoons. His policies turn his company’s fortunes to sludge. When his employees show him the evidence he ignores it. Blames them, or the customers or marketing. Never blames his policies.

Entrepreneurs in this state struggle under heavy taxes and regulations at every turn. Residents struggle under heavy taxes. You created them. Survey after survey list this state as just plain unfriendly to business. This is the result of your work.

Now you are trying to improve matters with your new program. Why not just get government out of the way of the people?

Slash budgets for state regulators. Slash the numbers of regulations. Thereby slash the number of state employees. Which will slash the costs of running the state. Which will allow you to slash the damned taxes for everybody who works or runs a business in New York.

Do this and you won’t have to pat yourself on the back. Your minions will do it for you.

From Tom...as in Morgan.

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