October 25, 2001
Lawmakers approved investments in R&D, development
Governor Pataki and legislative leaders have approved $500 million in new initiatives, including new investments in high-tech R&D and nine new economic development zones.
To create new state revenues, lawmakers also expanded legal gambling by authorizing creation of six casinos, three each in the Catskills and the Buffalo-Niagara Falls region.
New York State will also join the multi-state Powerball lottery, and video-lottery terminals will be permitted at horse racing tracks.
The deal commits a total of $100 million to new economic initiatives, including:
- The Gen*NY*sis program advanced by Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, as well as the "Centers of Excellence" program proposed by the Governor. The Business Council supported both ideas, which involve high-tech R&D among industrial, academic, and government labs.
- Creation of separate upstate and downstate tourism promotion boards.
- Creation of eight new Empire Zones and a comparable "Liberty Zone" in Manhattan to encourage redevelopment near the World Trade Center.
- Empire Zones are areas in which employers can receive substantial incentives, especially tax credits, if they invest to create jobs within the zones.
The agreement also earmarks $400 million, half for not-for-profit groups and half for new aid to education.
As part of the deal, the state will spend approximately $115 million that is now in a state fund for repaying taxes on natural gas from out of state. A court had ruled that those taxes were illegally collected, but lawmakers passed a law to nullify the effects of the court ruling.