How the "innovation agenda" faired in the state budget

Mar 29, 2013

Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out an ambitious agenda around economic growth, innovation and clean energy in his proposed 2013-2014 Executive Budget.

The Innovation Trail reported on several of those goals. And now we've done some digging through the budget formally adopted this week to see some of what made the cut, and what didn't:

'Hot Spots' and venture fund

New York will spend $1.25 million this year to set up an "innovation network," which will include 10 'hot spots' around the state.

Each hot spot will be tied to a college or university in the area and offer training for startup companies. But the real benefit of launching in a hot spot is the tax incentives. Companies starting in a hot spot will be free of state tax breaks for their first five years.

Another component of that plan that made it through to the final budget is the creation of a $50 million state-run venture capital fund. Cuomo noted New York often lags behind in attracting venture capital - especially true upstate. This won't close the gap, but should make a dint.

Regional councils

Back for a third year - and at no surprise - are Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Councils. They've become a darling of the governor's economic development strategy.

This installment includes an additional $150 million in new capital funding and $70 million in tax credits.

Taste of New York

The Taste-New York program got the boot in the final state budget. The initiative was introduced in the proposal to promote locally grown produce through a network of duty-free stores across New York.

General manager of the New York Wine and Culinary Center, Thomas Belelieu says losing the program $2 million program is disappointing and it could impact on the industry.

“It’s quite sad that even the two million wasn’t passed, because it would have been a great help to actually make the public aware, and educate the public about New York state agricultural products," Belelieu told the Innovation Trail. "So to me it’s disappointing, and I think it’s a step back.”

Despite the loss of the Taste program, Belelieu says the region is expecting 45 million agri-tourists once the weather improves, a marked increase over past years.

Agriculture

Included in the final budget is a "Market NY" program to promote locally grown produce. Here's our earlier breakdown.

Tourism promotion

The final budget includes $2.5 million of funding for the tourism marketing program. This seems like a step down from the $5 million set aside to increase tourism in upstate New York in Cuomo's proposal. To see the original plan and read reactions of the upstate tourism industry, click here.