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Politics and Government

Critics of Start-Up NY program seize on low job count

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Ellen Abbott
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WRVO News File Photo
State Sen. John DeFransisco (R-Syracuse) says Start-Up NY needs to be reevaluated.

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) said a report released late last Friday only deepens his skepticism about Start-Up NY, the Cuomo administration’s economic development program that offers tax breaks to companies that set up shop in certain educational zones. A report on the multi-million dollar program was released three months late and showed just over 400 jobs were created in two years. Defrancisco said a lack of transparency about the program is one of the problems.

“Every time you see it delayed, and it has been every year, at least skeptics -- including myself- think it’s an effort to make the numbers look better," DeFrancisco said. "Well, the delay didn’t help this year, because those numbers are very, very bad. And the way it looks bad when you hold things up and try to hide the announcement over a holiday weekend, it shows the administration is truly embarrassed by the lack of success rather than acknowledging that it’s not working and change something about it."

DeFrancisco would like to see the New York State Legislature take a deep look at the program and either modify it, or scrap it. He doesn’t like the idea of offering tax breaks to select companies from the start.

"We shouldn’t be picking winners and losers," he said. "If there’s tax cuts, it should be across the board.”

Defenders of the program say it needs more time to become more effective. But that’s not stopping critics like DeFrancisco, who say it’s not worth the money.

"If the legislature had the will, and enough people thought the way I did, we could reevaluate it and change the structure or eliminate the program," DeFrancisco said. "But to me, that’s probably doubtful because many people agree with what the governor’s doing, and will agree with it whether it’s right or wrong.”