June 18, 2010

Assembly Approves New Excelsior Program To Create Jobs And Boost Economic Growth

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Ways and Means Committee Chair Herman D. Farrell, Jr. today announced the passage of budget legislation which includes provisions to create the new Excelsior program to foster economic growth and job creation (A.9709-C). Existing Empire Zone-certified businesses will continue receiving the benefits that were promised to them.

Businesses in the Empire Zone and Excelsior programs will receive approximately $5.5 billion in tax benefits over the next ten years. The Excelsior program will focus on strategic industries that have the ability to grow and create jobs, including manufacturing, agriculture and research-based technology.

Currently, Empire Zones are overseen by local zone administrative boards. The Excelsior program will be administered by the Department of Economic Development.

The total benefits provided under the Excelsior program are $1.2 billion over a nine-year period, with funding capped at $50 million the first year and increasing by $50 million annually until benefits total $250 million after the full phase-in.

Participating businesses could receive four different tax benefits, including:

"While the Empire Zone program has proven very beneficial to economically-distressed areas, it is time that we institute new provisions which will ensure that businesses hold good on their promises to create and maintain new jobs," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "The Excelsior program, like its predecessor, will offer incentives to companies that relocate to New York State communities in greatest need of an economic boost, and those that show the greatest promise for creating jobs. Additionally, the $50 million cap in the first year and the $250 million by the phase-out year will help the state to save money in a time when we are in need of cost-saving measures."

"New York has consistently ranked among the most costly states in which to do business, and we need to change that," said Farrell (D-Manhattan). "At the same time, we have to be selective to ensure that businesses do not receive special tax incentives if they do not deliver jobs. This new system will weed out those companies looking to take advantage of the system, and will provide for the rapid growth of businesses in key industries including manufacturing, agriculture, finance and distribution and research-based technology."