Gov. Andrew Cuomo, flanked by (left to right) Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Sen. Thomas O'Mara, Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger and Sen. Thomas Libous, signs the recently passed Start-Up NY law.
Photo by Ryan Schultz
Gov. Cuomo makes second visit to Binghamton UniversityTweet
For the second time in less than a month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Binghamton University – this time to sign the tax-free law that he was promoting on his first visit. Before a crowd of more than 150, Cuomo signed the law passed last week that will establish tax-free zones on and around SUNY campuses to encourage new business in New York state.
Cuomo was joined by Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger, Sen. Thomas Libous, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and many local politicians in signing the law and praising state legislators for their work during the recently ended legislative session.
“SUNY plays a key role in revitalizing the upstate economy,” said Stenger. “Gov. Cuomo knows that our SUNY system is one of the jewels of this state and by working with businesses we can train our people. With a focus on innovation and on SUNY, Start-Up NY puts us at the center of our state’s economic strategy.”
Coupled with the state’s Innovation Hot Spots, venture capital fund and efforts to speed technology to market, Start-Up NY brings a “trifecta of initiatives to bolster economic growth, create new jobs and bring upstate back from the brink of bankruptcy,” Stenger said.
Never has there been such a focus on Upstate New York, said Lupardo, adding that she especially appreciates the governor’s commitment to upstate, “starting with the Regional Economic Development Councils to this year’s focus on tourism and history, and of course this new initiative. This legislative session is a lot to be proud of and we have a real leader on issues that permeate our society today.”
When introducing Cuomo to the audience, Libous said that “as a Republican, I call him my very good friend. As a senator, he’s been a great governor” who has made good things happen.
“Fast forward to this year,” Libous said. “It was an exciting session. Why? Because the governor said he wanted to focus on Upstate New York.
“I get a 7:30 a.m. call from the governor every so often,” Libous added. “He said that ‘this year my focus is on Upstate New York.’ He shared with me that we need to be very aggressive in helping Upstate New York.” Libous then got a round of applause when he said that, with the recent passage of the casino bill, “Tioga Downs would be a fabulous casino.”
Calling Stenger a rising star in the SUNY system and praising him for his leadership, Cuomo took the podium to talk about a “record of accomplishment.”
“We try not to disappoint people,” he said. “It was disheartening to watch the dysfunctional, chaotic government, so we went in a different way and put politics aside and remembered that we’re New Yorkers first.”
Adding that nobody epitomizes that philosophy more than Libous, Cuomo called him more than a friend, but also a mentor who knows government like no one else.
In signing the Start-Up NY law, Cuomo said the twin priorities of social progress and fiscal responsibility are being met in the state. “This year we said New York is rising and we will take it to a new level of performance. And, for the first time the state government is honed in on making the upstate economy work.
“Start-UP NY will make SUNY campuses not just academic campuses but also entrepreneurial tax-free communities,” Cuomo said. “Make no mistake, this is an Upstate New York program, designed based on the SUNY system. We have a higher education system that works very well. We create jobs in the state, but we lose 75 percent of those jobs in the first year and that’s what we have to stop. We need to keep the jobs we’re creating. Taxes are too high, and venture capital takes them to different states.
“This is the boldest economic development program for Upstate New York and a radical change. Overnight, nobody will have lower taxes than we do and you can live in New York and have a zero tax rate,” he said. “We can feel the energy all across the state. Economic numbers and job numbers are better. SUNY is stepping up, and politicians are even talking to each other. I fully believe this state has every asset imaginable. Everything − and we will work together to make this state great.