By Sarah Trefethen
The election is over, but politics were still on the agenda when Joshua Vlasto, chief of staff to Governor Andrew Cuomo, stopped by the Young Men and Women’s Real Estate Association at a luncheon meeting last week, bearing a pro-business message from Albany.
“We want to partner with you in developments big and small so that we can grow this state in ways that haven’t been seen in decades,” Vlastos said.
Start-Up NY is a new program that offers significant tax breaks to companies relocating or expanding to New York.
The program is open to certain types of businesses that open in special zones in space affiliated with public and private colleges and universities. According to Vlastos, the business will pay no tax at all, including no income tax for employees.
There are five zones in New York City – one in each borough – but most of the space will be located upstate.
Also on the topic of the northern reaches of the state, Vlastos championed the recent passage of the referendum that will allow casino gaming in New York.
As an example of the kind of projects the administration hopes to see, Vlastos announced that Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn would be among those bidding to develop one of the state’s first gambling destinations.
“We don’t want just slot-houses,” he said. “We want resort destinations that can transform economies in the Catskills and the Adirondacks and the Southern Tier.”
Also covered: the Tappan Zee Bridge (“That bridge is going to be built, it’s going to be on time and it’s going to be beautiful,”) and the prospect of New York’s first new mayor in 12 years.
Cuomo has a close personal relationship with New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, Vlasto said. As for how the pro-business administration in Albany will respond to de Blasio’s plans to increase taxes in the city to support social programs, Vlasto said that was something the two would sort out in due course.
“The campaign’s over. We’re going to let [de Blasio] get into office and we’ll talk about it in January,” he said.