Upstate New York’s left hand has been itching for generations — jobs pouring out of the state, leaving the economy a bust. Gov. Andrew Cuomo hopes to reverse that trend with his Tax-Free NY program — switching the itch from the left to right hand, thus revitalizing the upstate economy by creating new jobs.
Will it work? It’s worth a shot. But the governor should be honest about the implications to reduced tax revenues. He says there won’t be any, but we’re not sure about that.
So the governor’s got this itch. He wants to develop tax-free business zones in upstate communities — mainly around SUNY campuses. After all, 93 percent of New Yorkers live within 15 miles of a SUNY Campus, 97 percent within 20 miles.
“If you took the North Country out ... that number would change dramatically,” Cuomo said during his May 29 Tax-Free NY announcement in Albany.
That’s great news for creating jobs in Plattsburgh (SUNY Plattsburgh and Clinton Community College), Saranac Lake and Ticonderoga (North Country Community College).
For many of our readers, however, it does nothing. We’re not most New Yorkers. We’re the 3 percent. Large expanses of the Adirondack Park contain communities more than 20 miles from a SUNY campus.
With blackflies vastly outnumbering residents here in the sticks, the governor should also develop an economic development program for the 3 percent. Something more than buying private land, adding it to the state Forest Preserve and promising economic development in the wake of these multi-million-dollar land deals. Tourists who visit the wild lands — mostly pork ’n’ beaners who stay in tents and bring their own food — have little impact on the local economy. They may buy bug dope at Hoss’s Country Corner in Long Lake, but that’s not job creation.
Luckily, the governor has made inroads in the Adirondack Park. He genuinely likes it here. He’s setting up the Adirondack Challenge event in Indian Lake in July, promoting the Adirondack Park through I Love New York. We’re wholeheartedly behind this event and thank him for his support and attention. But that’s still not job creation.