Tompkins County Gets its Empire Zone

Zone will attract new businesses and jobs to the region
July 26, 2006

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D/WFP-Tompkins/Cortland) announced that Tompkins County is gaining a competitive edge in retaining and attracting new businesses and quality jobs with the designation of the Tompkins County Empire Zone. The designation is being made under legislation passed in 2005 that authorized the creation of 12 new Empire Zones over the next four years.

"For too long, Tompkins County has lived with an economic disadvantage because we have not had an Empire Zone while our surrounding counties have already been granted the designation," Lifton said. "I am pleased that our efforts to accelerate this process have been successful."

Businesses operating within Empire Zones are eligible for a wide range of tax benefits, including tax reduction credits, real property tax credits, sales tax exemptions, wage tax credits and utility rate reductions.

"With prestigious institutions like Cornell University and Ithaca College in our county, we are now in a position to support businesses that will help us compete and thrive in today’s global economy," Lifton said. "Tompkins County will finally be able to benefit from this successful economic development tool and quality good-paying job opportunities will be created for our families. They deserve nothing less.

"Many local organizations and individuals have worked hard for this Empire Zone designation. I want to thank especially Tompkins County Area Development, which did the bulk of the work on this application, and worked for several years to see this come to fruition, as well as the County Legislature, the Ithaca Common Council, the Mayor and the Chamber of Commerce," Lifton said. "Their hard work and commitment have been invaluable."