Cuomo wants to create tax-free zones around SUNY campuses

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to create tax-free entrepreneurial zones tied to State University of New York campuses.

Cuomo's proposal would give full tax credits to new businesses in select communities with state college campuses. There are 64 SUNY campuses across the state. Cuomo says that 100% of New Yorkers live within 30 miles of a SUNY campus.

The governor announced the proposal Wednesday at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, part of the University at Albany. He didn't say how expensive his plan might be or for how long the tax breaks would last. He didn't take questions from the media.

The Legislature would have to approve the proposal.

Cuomo plans to make announcements later in the day at the University at Buffalo and Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. Details of those announcements haven't been released.

"Tax-Free NY will supercharge our efforts to grow our economy by transforming localities in Upstate New York into virtual tax-free communities for new businesses and new jobs," said Cuomo in a media release. Under Tax-Free NY, communities across Upstate will become a magnet for new businesses, new startups, new venture capital, and new jobs, taking our economic development and job creating efforts to a level never seen before."

Tax-Free NY, according to a media release, includes:

-- Tax-Free Communities: All SUNY campuses outside of New York City and designated private colleges north of Westchester will be tax free (no sales, property, or business/corporate taxes). Up to 200,000 square feet surrounding the campus will included in the tax-free community.

-- Employees Exempt from Income Taxes: Employees of businesses that open in Tax-Free NY communities will be exempt from paying income taxes.

--Additional 3 Million Sq. Ft in Commercial Space at Private Universities: Under Tax-Free NY, 3 million sq. ft. in commercial space will be available at New York's private universities and twenty strategic state assets will also be designated tax-free.

-- Businesses Eligible for Tax-Free NY: Eligible businesses include companies with a relationship to the academic mission of the university and companies creating new jobs, including new businesses, out-of-state businesses that relocate to New York and existing businesses that expand their New York operations while maintaining their existing jobs.

(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)