Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy called the SUNY campus system an economic driver for the state during a visit to SUNY Oswego Tuesday morning.
Duffy discussed the recent START-UP NY initiative, which allows for new and expanding businesses to move on to or near college campuses. Those companies will be exempt from paying state sales, property or business taxes for ten years.
"Everybody is doing everything they can just to transform the economy and put things in place that will keep businesses here and growing, and draw new ones in," Duffy said.
Employees working for the participating companies are also exempt from paying income taxes for the first five years, and will not be taxed during the second five years if they make less than $200,000 annually.
All 64 of the state's existing SUNY campuses and some private universities are eligible for START-UP NY. This opens up 120 million square feet of office space for businesses, including three million square feet reserved for private universities.
Duffy says campuses with available space may offer it to companies, or new buildings can be erected by the college or incoming business. But with the state's economy still lagging behind much of the nation, one concern may be whether colleges can afford to make the investment.
"I don't think they can afford not to," Duffy said. "But as I said, it may be SUNY that decides to do some construction, [or] it may be the private company on a SUNY campus. Either way, they have the ability to take advantage of these incentives."
The lieutenant governor also says that utilizing SUNY campuses for business will not have an impact on state or local revenues, but will provide an economic boost across New York.