Cuomo’s Start-Up NY Program Creates Only 408 Jobs so Far

ALBANY (AP) -

A signature job creation program created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo has generated only 408 new jobs in its first two years, according to a state report quietly posted on a state website on Friday evening, ahead of a three day holiday weekend.

Start-Up NY uses tax-free zones at colleges to attract companies. The report says 159 businesses received $1.19 million in tax benefits so far while investing $13 million in the economy. The state also set aside $175 million for marketing the program.

Seventy-six jobs were created in 2014, Start-Up’s first full year, and another 332 last year.

Cuomo regularly praises Start-Up and other programs for jumpstarting the economy. But the unceremonious release of the report, three months late and at the start of the three-day July 4 weekend, suggests the administration isn’t ready to celebrate the results.

Leslie Whatley, who led Start-Up since it began in 2013, said the program is capable of living up to its promises.

“We’re on a great trajectory,” said Whatley, who is leaving the administration this month. “The first year was all about building the program. Now we’re starting to see momentum.”

Critics of Cuomo’s economic development initiatives seized on the report as evidence his economic development ideas aren’t working.

“Taxpayers have invested millions of dollars to promote a job-creation initiative that has turned out to be long on promises but woefully short on actual jobs,” said Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua). “If Start-Up NY was truly effective, New Yorkers would not have waited three months for an update and details would not have been secretly posted on a website late on a Friday afternoon.”