Is Governor Cuomo's Budget Good for Westchester Businesses?

The New York State Legislature has approved Governor Cuomo's fiscal agenda, but what about Westchester?



Marc A. Hermann / New York MTA

The answer is yes, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Westchester County Association (WCA), and the Business Council of Westchester (BCW)—all of whom have touted the recently passed $138-billion bipartisan budget’s appeal to the Westchester business community, and the state at large.

Gov. Cuomo gave his 2014 budget presentation and discussed his plans for economic development at a special event hosted by WCA on April 9 at the Westchester Marriott. During his presentation—his only budget address to Westchester's business community—Gov. Cuomo discussed his efforts to build New York's economy and create jobs for the 21st century.

During the presentation, Gov. Cuomo stressed the following points:

  • New York State has held spending below 2 percent for three years
  • New York State has gone from a $10 billion deficit to a $2 billion surplus
  • New York State is second in job creation since the recession and has added nearly 400,000 jobs in the last three years
  • Tax relief is an economic growth strategy. Proposing a state property tax credit if local governments can stay within the 2 percent tax cap
  • Investing in education as an economic growth strategy
  • 0% tax rates for new businesses through StartUp NY

WCA President Bill Mooney singled out his organization’s plans to collaborate with the Governor on supporting growth in the health tech sector—a rapidly growing industry in Westchester County—as particularly exciting. "He has done a tremendous job for the State of New York, and we are eager to further collaborate with him to renew economic prosperity in the region," Mooney said.

The Business Council of Westchester (BCW) has also given its seal of approval to Cuomo’s budget, because of its provisions to lower taxes on businesses and control state spending while investing hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development and job creation initiatives.

“Lowering taxes on manufacturers, phasing out the temporary utility tax and setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars for Regional Economic Development Councils are all sound strategies for improving the economy in New York,” said Dr. Marsha Gordon, BCW’s President and CEO, in a recent statement. “This on-time and bi-partisan budget shows that when it comes to keeping our fiscal house in order and maintaining a strong bond rating, New York really means business.” (This is the fourth consecutive time the New York Senate and Assembly passed an on-time budget.)

What other good news does the budget contain for Westchester businesses? Gordon and BCW endorse the following provisions:

  • Cutting the manufacturing tax from 5.9 percent to zero: The BCW has long lobbied for Westchester to be included in such a provision and believes lowering taxes and burdens on manufacturers will incentivize companies already here to stay and grow, while encouraging others to move and relocate to New York, Gordon notes. Although this was not included in initial proposals, The BCW and local members of the state delegation ensured that it was part of next year’s budget.
  • The accelerated phase out of the 18-A utility tax surcharge: It will go a long way to lowering energy bills in that it will save New Yorkers and businesses in this state $600 million over three years, Gordon says.
  • The budget allocates $150 million in new capital and economic development funding and $70 million in tax credits for the Regional Economic Development Councils that ensures the best and most innovative projects are prioritized throughout New York. 
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