Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — December 16, 2008

Business Council opposes new requirements on existing Empire Zone companies

ALBANY— “Imposing new requirements on companies already participating in the Empire Zone program will have a chilling effect on future economic development efforts in New York,” said Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State. “You're telling a company that is honoring its deal that now you're going to change the rules so you can throw them out of the program. It is a terrible message.”

The Governor's Executive Budget proposal calls for retroactively applying new criteria for qualification to existing Empire Zone participants. It is estimated that approximately half of the 9,800 business getting Empire Zone benefits could be removed from the program. These companies employ approximately 380,000 New Yorkers.

“To move the goal line during the middle of the game when companies are trying to retain jobs in a recession is a very bad idea,” added Adams.

“While The Business Council agrees that going forward we need to improve our economic development tools to make them more efficient and effective, retroactively changing the standards to eliminate companies will not only damage those companies and their employees, it will make it difficult for future business investors to believe New York officials when they make a deal,” said Adams.