Jeff Atwater Goes Toe to Toe With Andrew Cuomo on State Business Climates

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: July 22, 2014 3:55 AM
Jeff Atwater and Andrew Cuomo

Jeff Atwater and Andrew Cuomo

Florida CFO Jeff Atwater is pushing back against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s, D-N.Y., effort to lure businesses based in the Sunshine State to New York.

Back in  October, Cuomo unveiled “Start-Up NY,” a program to grow and lure businesses to the Empire State by creating tax-free zones and working with the State University of New York (SUNY) system and other colleges and universities based there.

“Hundreds of business leaders and CEOs from around the globe have come together for the official launch of Start-Up NY to take advantage of the most ambitious economic development program in New York State’s recent history,” Cuomo said when the program was launched. “In a tax-free environment, no one can match what New York has to offer. Businesses that are looking to start up or expand, and most importantly create jobs, should look no further. We are leveraging our world-class SUNY system and prestigious private universities to partner with new businesses, providing direct access to advanced research, development resources, experts in high-tech and other industries and all with zero taxes for 10 whole years. With an opportunity like that, it's no wonder that companies are lining up for the launch of Start-Up NY.”

With New York running ads in Florida and other states as part of a $113 million media campaign, Atwater pushed back in a letter sent to Cuomo on Friday and called him a “huckster” in an article published Monday in the New York Post. Atwater accused Cuomo of fudging the facts about New York’s business climate.
“The reality is that New York boasts the highest taxes in America, the highest cost of living in the country, and one of the worst business climates in the nation,” Atwater wrote Cuomo. “Conversely, by every objective measure, Florida continues to be one of the best states in which to start a business and raise a family.”

Atwater pointed out to Cuomo that studies on taxes and business climates found Florida ranking as one of the best states in the nation while New York lags far behind in many of the surveys. Noting that Florida did not have a personal income tax, Atwater showed New York’s state personal income tax rate stood at 9 percent.

Matt Wing, a spokesman for Cuomo, fired back in his comments to the New York Post

“For a CFO, he must be pretty bad at math if he doesn’t understand that the zero in StartUp’s zero-tax zones means no state taxes for new businesses,” said Wing, ignoring Atwater’s point about personal income taxes.

Cuomo has been mentioned as a possible contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 if fellow New York Democrat former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton doesn’t run.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com

Comments (2)

The Swampfox
11:04AM JUL 22ND 2014
Kudos Mr. Fabian you nailed it! Start-Up NY needs a tune up. As a recent permanent Floridian who has resided here in the winters for the past several years and owning a business in NY I can attest that NY is the place to be from 1400 miles to be exact! Aside from the personal tax rate the regulations are horrendous. Labor Law 240 aka. the "Scaffold Law" allows absolute liability in an injury what is that? If an employees falls regardless of the circumstances i.e. he/she was drunk, on drugs, failed to follow company safety procedures they get paid, and in many instances huge settlements! It's a lawyers free for all like shooting fish in a barrel. The whisper amongst the legal profession is the "Scaffold Law" is the [filtered word] that lays the golden egg. So bad is this law that all the insurance companies have pulled out of NY for writing reasonable comp, & liability insurance. The caveat is NY has what is know as the NY State Insurance Fund??? Run by the state but as they say it is a separate entity, hmmm... The utility bills are saddled with all kinds of fees, carrying charges, I had a gas bill for $15.00 with $17.00 of charges or taxes. The utility companies even charge $1.75 for mailing out their bill to you so you can pay them!! When I asked for them to send me an E-bill I was told there would be no discount of $1.75.00. The utilities here in Florida are roughly less than half of what I paid in NY. Andrew Cuomo is "pathetic" his huckster attempt to lure businesses from Florida to NY is a desperate attempt to stop the hemorrhaging of population that are voting with their feet. When Cuomo made the remark that conservatives weren't welcome in NY I decided he was right. Thanks Andrew for the advise its the only advise you've been right about. Here's a novel idea how about dropping the tax rate for "ALL" businesses, open the flood gates and watch NY prosper do away with all the unnecessary regulations and let the free market prevail. Ah...but then the politicians would lose their strangle hold on the voters and not be in office from birth. One of the biggest liabilities of NY is assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silvers an attorney that has strong ties with Weitz & Luxemberg a prominent law firm in Manhattan that specializes in suing insurance companies on ... did I mention the "Scaffold Law"
William Fabian
7:51AM JUL 22ND 2014
I paid $7000 property tax in ny. In florida it's $200. My electric bill in ny was about $200 a month. In florida it's $90. In ny my fuel oil bill was $2000 a year. In Florida, nothing. In ny there is 3 months of summer. In florida it's 12 months. In ny a lot of car accidents are caused by snow. Every year I trip and fall on the ice. My car uses less gas and lasts longer in florida. Do not have to put on snow tires. Ny has the highest amount of ground radon, which causes cancer. Florida has none. All of the lakes are polluted in ny from industry. Don't eat the fish. Heavy metals dumped in the ground in ny has caused a lot of cancer clusters in kids. Common core in ny means all children left behind. People in ny are very competive, but get nothing done. People in florida are friendly and do all they can. Florida is clean. Ny is dirty and every thing smells funny. People where three layers of clothes in ny. In florida, maybe half a layer. In florida women are taller, stronger, and will run for political office. In ny they are just a bunch of cry babies. I love the Mexican people here in florida. There is no love in ny. All politics is local in florida. In ny, New York City runs the state. Ny has 9 percent tax. Florida, none. Ney York has lost its way. Florida is the way

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