More than 25 people from local industries, area governance, and regional colleges recently gathered in Alfred State’s brand-new Student Leadership Center to discuss one of the most potentially game-changing initiatives of the year—START-UP NY—a statewide program intended to attract new investors and entrepreneurs to New York with the promise of operating tax free for 10 years.
During the forum, local business and government leaders voiced concerns about the program’s impact, but most were tentatively enthusiastic about its potential, Alfred State included. “We’re ready to lead the region in the START-UP NY program,” says Craig Clark, interim vice president for academic affairs at Alfred State. “The college’s long history of supporting manufacturers in the region—from the skilled trades to engineering—positions us well.”
With the implementation of this program, every SUNY community college and four-year college or university in the state will be able to establish an area in or around their campuses where approved businesses will operate tax free.
As Governor Cuomo begins urging SUNY campuses to start developing their plans, Alfred State is taking a proactive approach to the new law. Kenneth Adams, Empire State Development (ESD) president and CEO and commissioner of the New York State Department of Economic Development, made the trip to Alfred to aid in the discussion. He fielded questions about everything from the acreage allotted to private colleges under the program, stopgaps against fraudulent applications, and benefits to local communities. “I’m so glad I visited Alfred and had the opportunity to listen to community input and discuss how excited we are about the START-UP NY program,” Adams says.
“The ability to have a real dialog with community leaders and Ken, who is helping to shape the rules and regulations, was a big plus,” Clark says. “It was also great to hear that the local community leaders and government officials appear to support this innovative project and that ESD is building a remarkable amount of flexibility into the program.”
Although any New York State college or university can participate in the program, private colleges are limited by a set acreage. SUNY campuses like Alfred State don’t have the same restrictions, which puts them in a prime position to attract a diverse array of new businesses. And with the new Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing Center (funded by a recent SUNY 2020 grant) soon to be built at Alfred State’s Wellsville campus, Clark believes this will expand the area’s attractiveness to manufacturers even more—bringing in much needed jobs and revenue.
“Attracting new businesses to communities throughout the state will be a boon to the towns they call home,” Adams says. “We’re going to work very hard to bring thousands of jobs upstate each year.”