Your tax dollars at work: NY spends $28M to create 76 jobs

Anyone who spends time in or around the state of New York and has access to a television is familiar with the nearly endless advertisements which clutter the airwaves touting the accomplishments of Governor Andrew Cuomo. It’s a rather strange phenomena considering the fact that he’s not up for election again until 2018, assuming he even bothers to run at all. One of his greatest “accomplishments” in turning around the dismal prospects of the state is the START-UP NY program which was ostensibly designed to attract businesses to the state, promote the creation of new businesses and boost employment. All of this advertising isn’t cheap, nor is the associated support network to run the operation. So how well has that been working after more than a year of non-stop publicity? Well, it’s just been fabulous.

You’ve seen Andrew Cuomo’s TV commercials, the ones that say, “The new New York is open. Open to innovation. Open to ambition. Open to bold ideas.” The spot is promoting the Start-Up NY program.

Now the results are starting to come in: 76 jobs so far.

In the entire state. From a program that has spent $28 million advertising its own existence.

That’s $368,000 per job.

Start-Up NY sounds great on its face. It’s a tax cut. Who could argue with that? The problem is that it’s a very, very narrow tax cut. It’s only for certain kinds of businesses that do certain kinds of things in certain areas of the state. Surprise: It’s had very narrow effects.

Those 76 jobs are just a tad bit shy of the program’s initial goals, which were rather, er… modest to begin with.

Start-Up NY’s professed goal? Creating 2,100 jobs. Over five years. Points for modesty.

In a state in which there are 7,775,000 jobs, that’s projected job growth of 0.005% a year. Touting this as “economic development” is like saying you’re going to fight hunger in India by sending Mumbai one box of Minute Rice.

This plan and a variety of others like it are failing to either attract businesses from other states or help any significant number of serious entrepreneurs get a new enterprise off the ground. The reason for this is fairly simple and revolves around the fact that most people who are smart enough to succeed in the business world are not dumb enough to fall for a scam. The program is little more than a gimmick which seeks to mask New York’s status as one of the worst business environments and high tax quagmires in the nation. In order to make things look a bit less horrible than they are, the program offers a discount tax rate to new businesses and a variety of other investment incentives. The main problem with this scheme is that these benefits are very much temporary, and assuming your business does manage to somehow survive for a few years you are lumped right back in with everyone else after that and pay the crippling state rate. Further, the smaller communities which “benefit” from these programs see only a handful of jobs out of it (as noted above) while having to make up the shortfall in their local budgets by taxing the residents all the harder.

At some point the voters need to ask where that $28M could have been better spent than in a marketing ploy which created 76 jobs which may or may not last until the next election. Given the state’s current population figures, the Governor could have just handed everyone in New York $3.50. If nothing else we’d have all been able to get one of those new breakfast wraps from Taco Bell.