Cuomo talks Tax-Free NY at BU

By Kelly McCarthy

May 30, 2013 Updated May 30, 2013 at 9:37 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) While New York may not have difficulty attracting businesses, seldom do they settle inside its borders, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday during a visit to Binghamton University.

But if his proposal to allow truly tax-free areas in close proximity to state universities is approved, they'll have no reason to leave.

The purpose of Cuomo's visit to Binghamton University was to tout his Tax-Free NY initiative, introduced earlier this month.

It's a plan that Cuomo says will turn around upstate New York's economy, which he said is decades in decline.

The Tax-Free New York initiative would allow designated areas near SUNY campuses to be exempt of all taxes.

Cuomo spent the day touring several cities and campuses across upstate.

He's asking for support on his plan that would create a tax-free community for new businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs for 10 years.

Companies that already exist within the tax-free zone will not qualify for the program.

Cuomo is targeting SUNY campuses to go tax-free because he says 93 percent of all New Yorkers live within 15 miles of a SUNY campus.

"We know we have the great schools and we know we have the talent going to those schools," Cuomo said. "And we know we're creating jobs, and we also know we're losing 75 percent of those jobs in the first year. So the trick is keeping those jobs here, and attracting other jobs, but start with keeping those jobs here."

The initiative was met with applause by leaders in the Southern Tier, including county officials and members of the Chamber of Commerce.

Cuomo says he wants to see the proposal passed in 2013. If it makes it past lower committees, any vote would still likely be three to four weeks off.