Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — June 18, 2010

Business Council says Excelsior Jobs Program inadequate

ALBANY— “The economic development program agreed to by the Governor and legislature will limit New York's ability to compete in the race to create and retain jobs as the nation moves out of the recession,” said Ken Pokalsky, senior director of government affairs for The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

“The new Excelsior Jobs program is capped at $50 million dollars in credits per year, significantly lower than the previous Empire Zone program. This is a very modest program that is likely to fall short in promoting new investment and new jobs, particularly upstate,” added Pokalsky. “The Business Council agrees that Empire Zones needed further reforms, and understood that the state's commitment to the program would be reduced, but this is a huge reduction in resources at a time when New York needs to invest in job growth.”

The Business Council supports some elements of the new program, including the program's targeting of industrial sectors and the inclusion of a capital investment-based eligibility criteria.

However, in addition to the overall cap, The Business Council is concerned that the real property tax credits in the new program will be inadequate to offset the adverse impact of New York's high property taxes on potential development. New York's local tax burden, largely driven by the property tax, is 78 percent above the national average. For many businesses their property tax bill is their largest single tax. These high costs often make New York too expensive for potential development or expansion projects.