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NY Gov. Proposes $1.5B for Upstate Revitalization, Statewide Economic Initiatives

January 22, 2015

This week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his proposed 2015-16 budget, including an extensive slate of economic development and innovation initiatives for the state. The governor unveiled his plans in a press conference outlining his 2015 Opportunity Agenda in lieu of this year’s State of the State address. Gov. Cuomo’s proposed economic strategy includes a $1.5 billion competition, based on the previous Buffalo Billion initiative, to help revitalize Upstate New York.

The Upstate New York Economic Revitalization Competition would offer awards of $500 million to three of seven Upstate regions. The competition would leverage the partnerships created through the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) awards by calling on those groups to prepare regional investment plans that could qualify for the competition. The Western New York, Long Island and New York City REDCs would not be eligible. Submissions would be due in July and winners would be announced in the fall.

Separately, all 10 REDCs would be able to participate in a fifth round of REDC awards. The governor’s budget would allocate $150 million to fund regional priority projects and another $70 million in state tax credits for regional initiatives.

Other points of the plan include:

  • Cutting small business taxes from 6.5 percent to 2.5 percent;
  • Expanding the STARTUP-NY initiative to include two airports, eliminating taxes for qualified businesses, and investing another $50 million in the initiative;
  • Launching a new $110 million round of NYSUNY2020 and NYCUNY2020 challenge grants and expanding the program to provide financial incentives for research commercialization;
  • Ensuring statewide high-speed broadband access by the end of 2018 (see related article);
  • Doubling the New York State Venture Capital Fund to $100 million;
  • Using REDCs to better tailor community college programs to the needs of regions;
  • Launching 76West, a clean energy business competition, under NYSERDA; and,
  • Creating a $35 million Global NY Export-Import Development program.

Read Gov. Cuomo’s full 2015 Opportunity Agenda…

New York