January 13, 2005
Governor announces details of his 'Operation SPUR' program to revitalize select Upstate communities
Governor George Pataki has released new details of Operation SPUR, his proposal to reinvigorate selected Upstate communities, that are identified as struggling economically and lagging in population growth.
“This critical new initiative will target Upstate communities where we need additional economic growth and job creation, and will bring new jobs and the promise of a growing economy to all New Yorkers,” Governor Pataki said.
"Operation SPUR is an appropriate name for this program because it really can help kick-start the economy in Upstate communities," said Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh. "Let's dig in and get it done."
The Governor first announced the plan in his State of the State last week.
The seven-point economic-development plan is specifically designed to foster job growth in areas where population and job growth have underperformed or traditionally rely on the farming and agribusiness sectors, the Governor’s release said.
Communities will be eligible for SPUR benefits based on a number of factors, including population and job growth, employment loss, and agricultural employment. The program will be administered by Empire State Development (ESD).
SPUR’s components include:
- A new tax credit for existing, new, or emerging businesses
affiliated with Centers of Excellence, state-supported research
centers affiliated with universities around the state. Qualified
companies will be allowed to convert unused tax losses into
refundable tax credits to help them secure new working capital.
- A new exemption from the state’s alternative minimum
tax (AMT) that will apply to a company’s entire state
- The single-sales factor tax reform will be enacted specifically
for companies that create jobs or make significant investments
in SPUR communities. Companies could apply the change to
their entire state tax liability, not just that portion
amassed in the SPUR community.
The single-sales factor reform would base corporate taxes for manufacturers on just one factor, in-state sales. Corporate taxes are now based on three factors: in-state sales, payroll, and property. Because state taxes now increase as in-state jobs and sites increase, companies are effectively encouraged to put jobs and plants elsewhere.
The Business Council has is urging lawmakers to enacted the single-sales factor reform for the entire state and for manufacturing and other capital-intensive industries. A 2001 study by the Public Policy Institute, The Business Council’s research affiliate, concluded that fully enacted single-sales factor reform would ultimately lead to 133,000 new jobs and a net increase in state revenues.
- A new wage tax credit that would be available for businesses
that create more than 50 jobs in SPUR communities. Enhanced
credits will be available for businesses in Empire Zones
within SPUR areas.
- Creation of new “Opportunity Empire Zone”
for the agribusiness sector. These zones would promote investment
and expansion in agricultural industries, including dairy,
food and fruit processing, and forestry.
- Extension of the existing Empire Zone program until 2010
to provide significant economic and tax incentives to businesses.
- Employers in SPUR communities would have access to custom-tailored
safety action plans to help reduce workers’ compensation
costs and their overall cost of doing business.
- $100 million in new “Operation SPUR” grants for capital projects directed toward economic development initiatives in SPUR communities. Eligible projects would include industrial facilities, business parks, incubators, downtown and rural commercial center projects, and tourism destinations.
The Governor also announced several related initiatives, including:
- $10 million in new training grants for incumbent worker
- Expansion of the state’s New York Main Street program, with $40 million to be provided over the next five years to help local communities revitalize downtown business districts. This would build upon the state’s initial $20 million investment in the program.