Cuomo wishes he could implement ‘zero taxes’ all over New York

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ALBANY—Speaking at an event on Long Island, Governor Andrew Cuomo touted a program that gives tax breaks to new and expanding businesses that locate in designated zones attached to state universities.

The new program, called START-UP—which provides exemptions for corporate and property taxes as well as an exemption on income taxes for some workers—caused agita among some liberal and conservative critics, but was praised by business groups.

“It will sell itself, and that's what we're finding. I wish I could do zero taxes for the entire state: unfortunately I can't, it's impossible,” Cuomo said, noting there have already been hundreds of applications. “Zero taxes has to work. We know as a state we have everything to offer that you could imagine … it's the high taxes that have been our problem. And what START-UP says is you pay zero taxes.”

Cuomo is facing pressure to approve a tax increase on the wealthy to pay for an expansion of pre-K programs, a signature program of incoming New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Cuomo has cast doubt on his willingness to approve the (crucial) part of de Blasio's plan that involves increasing taxes on wealthy city residents, but he said that supports expanding pre-K, somehow.

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UPDATE: David Laska, a spokesman for the Republican State Committee, disputed Cuomo's notion of impossibility.

"Contrary to what Governor Cuomo keeps saying, statewide tax cuts in New York are not impossible," Laska said. "If the governor were more interested in economic growth than good press, he would lead the fight for statewide income tax relief, particularly on capital gains. Instead, Cuomo peddles his "START-UP NY" gimmick, which only provides a select few tax breaks to a select few businesses for a select period of time."