Last year, the New York state government launched Start-Up NY, a program designed to boost employment by creating tax-free zones for technology and manufacturing firms that partner with academic institutions.
In theory, those tax-free zones on university campuses would give companies access to the best young talent and cutting-edge research. But only a few firms are actually taking the bait: According to a report from the state’s Department of Economic Development, the program only created 76 jobs last year, despite spending millions of dollars on advertising and other costs. If that wasn’t eyebrow-raising enough, the companies involved in the program have only invested a collective $1.7 million so far.
The low numbers didn’t stop some state officials from defending the initiative. “Given the program was only up and running for basically one quarter of a year,” Andrew Kennedy, a senior economic development aide to Governor Cuomo, told Capital New York, “I think 80 jobs is a good number that we can stand behind.”
Governor Cuomo evidently hopes that he can transform some of the most economically depressed parts of the state into bustling tech hubs, even if many of those areas lack the factors—such as “innovation cultivators” and networking assets—that helped New York City make a major push for tech companies’ residency and business over the past few years.