“Today’s announcement is another demonstration that START-UP-NY is working to bring new jobs and investment to communities across New York state.”
So reads a recent press release from Gov. Cuomo.
What’s he so proud of? A company now located 10 miles outside Albany will move to a site inside Albany and create new jobs there.
Seventy-two of them, to be precise.
You read that right: The big “success” he’s touting is 72 new jobs in a state private sector of 7,614,500 workers.
The company, Classbook.com, is now in Castleton, about 10 miles outside the capital. It’s taking advantage of a program, START-UP-NY, that’s been the centerpiece of Cuomo’s economic-development efforts.
Under that program, companies that move from out of state or expand and create jobs here can get big tax breaks by locating near certain New York colleges. Cuomo’s press release claims START-UP-NY now has “more than 310 tax-free areas for new or expanding businesses.”
That’s fine. But those areas add up to a tiny fraction of New York land. Besides, if moving a business from one site in the state to another 10 miles away and creating all of 72 jobs is a “success,” maybe it’s time to rethink our business-development plan.
Actually, 72 is well above average for the program. Having begun in earnest this summer, the 41 companies participating have created an average of just 43 jobs each.
The main beneficiary seems to be the governor himself, who has spent millions on ads promoting the program — and, indirectly, himself.
Meanwhile, large swaths of Upstate remain desperate for business and jobs. Unemployment is 6.2 percent, lagging the nation’s 5.9 percent rate. And we continue to rank among the worst states for businesses.
Cuomo could have opted for broader tax cuts or a rollback in regulations. He could have OK’d fracking, which is spurring tens of thousands of jobs elsewhere. Instead, he chose a program that’s created barely any jobs. Is this a reason to boast?