BUFFALO, N.Y. - The state's largest public employee union is blasting Governor Cuomo's new plan to set up tax-free zones for businesses and their employees.
The union has taken out billboards and newspaper ads and is running commercials.
"So we work and pay what we owe but these special employees get a free ride? Right," is part of a commercial.
The CSEA, which has 40 thousand members in Western New York alone, is criticizing what Governor Cuomo calls his "Start-Up NY" plan.
* Businesses would have to be located on college campuses.
* They would have to be a brand new company, or one that comes to New York from out of state.
* The business would pay no state business, sales, or property taxes for ten years.
* Employees of the companies would pay no state income taxes for ten years.
* Any new business could not compete with similar businesses that already exist in an area.
Speaking in Buffalo about the plan last month, Governor Cuomo said, "So there's no state in the country that could have any advantage over these (tax-free) areas. There is no no place you can go in the United States where you would pay less taxes than in any of these communities."
"I'm tired of all of these tax breaks that are supposed to help our economy but just benefit a select few," is part of the commercial.
CSEA Spokesman Stephen Madarasz: "This is really just a bad idea. This is just more corporate welfare."
Scott Brown: "What alternative would the union suggest as a way to help with job creation especially upstate?"
Stephen Madarasz: "One thing in particular is you could take the money this is going to cost state taxpayers and invest it in the state university system and you'd probably have a far greater return for economic benefit than what they're doing here."
Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, Partnership CEO: "We think it's a great thing because our universities can be economic hubs."
The area's largest business group, The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is a big supporter of the new no tax zone plan.
Scott Brown: "Is this an admission that New York is just not a tax- friendly state for business?"
Dottie Gallagher-Cohen: "We for years, the Partnership, has been on record saying New York is not a great place for investment. And there are still issues with taxation and mandatory regulations, so this is a great start, but there is more work to be done."