$3 Million in State Funds Will Jumpstart Project, Leading to Hundreds of New Jobs in the Region
Governor Outlines 2014-15 Budget that Maintains Fiscal Responsibility and Builds On Successes of Past Three Years to Lower Taxes and Create New Economic Opportunities
Albany, NY (February 20, 2014)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the State will commit $3 million to the Eastman Business Park (EBP) Bioscience Manufacturing Center in Rochester which will begin construction later this year. The construction of the $25 million, 60,000 square feet facility, which will improve equipment for converting non-food plant materials into biofuels and biochemicals, is estimated to create hundreds of new jobs. The Eastman Business Park is the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council's (FLREDC) top priority and is a crucial asset in both job creation and economic development in the region. The Governor made the announcement today in a visit to Rochester, where he also outlined his 2014-15 Executive Budget.
“This year, we are building on the successes of the past three years, lowering taxes for residents and businesses and creating new economic opportunities across the state," Governor Cuomo said. “Here in Rochester, we are committing an investment of $3 million to support the construction of a $25 million Bioscience Manufacturing Center at Eastman Business Park. This investment will create hundreds of new jobs for the community, grow the local economy and position the Finger Lakes region as a leader in the renewable energy industry. Under our budget plan, we will continue to make economic development and job creation in Upstate New York a top priority, while making important investments to improve our education system, fortify the state's infrastructure and build stronger communities."
Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy said, “On behalf of Governor Cuomo, I have had many conversations with companies that require access to the type of equipment being installed at the new Bioscience Manufacturing Center at the Eastman Business Park. This new Center will provide a huge boost to the community by attracting such companies, along with the investments and jobs that they will bring. I thank the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, our partners in government and Governor Cuomo for their dedication to growing the Greater Rochester economy."
The project will consist of transportation infrastructure improvements and the production, fermentation tanks and storage equipment necessary to convert feedstock into C5 and C6 sugars. These sugars can then be employed in the manufacture of a wide range of green chemicals, biodegradable plastics, and biofuels. Once operational, the center will be capable of processing up to 30,000 tons of sugars annually. In addition, the partnership between New York State and the EBP Bioscience Manufacturing Center builds upon the state's ongoing effort to pursue and improve access to renewable energy.
The industrial facility will be owned and operated by EBP EcoTech Park Operating Corp, a consortium of partner companies who will provide the majority of funding for the project. Several companies, including three out-of-state businesses, have indicated interest in using the center and intend either to expand or locate operations at Eastman Business Park as a result.
“As a development company with expertise in the operations of biobased technologies, EcoTech is very pleased to be involved in the design and implementation of this fermentation cluster facility at EBP," said Stephen Healey, president and CEO of EcoTech. “We believe this will drive a revitalization at the Park in the field of biomaterials manufacturing, by adding a critical capability to the tremendous infrastructure already present on site."
“Eastman Business Park is our region's top priority and our goal is for it to become one of the nation's preeminent industrial parks for technological innovation," said FLREDC Co-Chairs, University at Rochester President Joel Seligman and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman. “Today's announcement furthers EBP's growth and will accelerate the EBP Bioscience Manufacturing Center, advancing the Governor's commitment in Eastman Business Park and the Greater Rochester region."
“The Eastman Business Park in Rochester is integral to the region's economic future," said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. “I am pleased that with Governor Cuomo's leadership and this new partnership between New York State and the EBP Bioscience Manufacturing Center, the park is receiving the short and long-term support it needs to become a major economic driver in Monroe County."
Significant progress has been made in resolving the obstacles to the Eastman Business Park's future growth, enabling it to attract new companies and helping meet the goal of creating 1,800 jobs over the next five years at the site. In 2013, Kodak and the state agreed to a global settlement that addressed environmental legacy issues at the site; the Park's utility systems were acquired, ensuring stability for the Park's tenants; and Kodak emerged from bankruptcy and committed to maintain significant operations and jobs at the site. The FLREDC believes the Park has turned a corner and is ready to become one of the nation's preeminent industrial parks for technological innovation.
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle said, “For the past three years, my colleagues in the legislature and I have been working alongside Governor Cuomo to move New York State forward, taking necessary steps to repair and restore the state's economy. Governor Cuomo's budget outlines a plan to build on the stability of our communities for years to come by offering property tax relief to homeowners and business owners, and new incentives to support and promote local development projects. For Rochester, that includes the funding that will go towards the Bioscience Manufacturing Center--a project that will create new jobs. This year, we are going to continue to work together to move New York in the right direction."
Senator Joseph Robach said, “As a result of three on-time, fiscally responsible budgets, we have built a strong foundation to continue growing the State's economy with investments like today's announcement. This investment in Eastman Business Park is key to improving the area and will help make Rochester a leader in bioscience technology and innovation, while creating much-needed jobs for the community. I greatly appreciate Governor Cuomo's commitment to Rochester, and look forward to working with him to pass another budget that serves the people of New York."
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said, “Simply put, the investments made at Eastman Business Park will help stimulate our local economy and put people back to work in good paying jobs. I thank Governor Cuomo for his support of this great project. As mayor, I look forward to many more opportunities to partner with the State to boost Rochester's economy and strengthen communities across our city."
Eastman Business Park (EBP), formerly Kodak Park, is a massive 1,200 acre technology and industrial complex that spans from the City of Rochester into the Town of Greece in Monroe County. EBP has more than one million square feet of manufacturing, laboratory and warehouse space with infrastructure systems that put it among the top industrial sites in the eastern United States. Under Governor Cuomo, more than $90 million has been committed and invested by New York State to attract dozens of new companies that are transforming EBP into a diverse hub for research and development (R&D) and high tech manufacturing. The park now has 48 companies with more than 6,500 employees, most of which are non-Kodak jobs.
Kodak President and Chief Executive Officer Antonio M. Perez said, “The creation of a bioscience manufacturing center at Eastman Business Park is a critical first step to the build-out of a full biomaterials ecosystem here, which will contribute to the continuing revitalization of Rochester and the region. We appreciate our partnership with Governor Cuomo and other elected officials."
Brad W. Kruchten, President of Kodak Graphics, Entertainment and Commercial Films, said, “EBP is the perfect place to locate a facility such as this. The Park's set of fermenting tanks, sterilization tanks, pumps, separation equipment, seed tanks, product storage and air compressors will allow upstream sugar suppliers to convert their materials into high-value products, such as biochemicals and bioplastics. This site also has access to three biorefineries, our specialty chemicals pilot and manufacturing capabilities – as well as waste water treatment facilities, water and rail access. All the physical pieces will now exist, but more importantly, all the technical talent needed is also present at EBP."
The Governor today also outlined his 2014-15 Executive Budget, which continues the fiscal discipline of the past three years by holding spending increases to below two percent, while also reducing taxes by more than $2 billion by 2016-17.
CONTINUING NEW YORK'S SUCCESSFUL JOB GROWTH STRATEGY
The Governor has proposed a balanced, bipartisan package of tax relief measures that will help to grow the economy and provide much needed relief to overburdened property taxpayers. By 2016-17, these proposals will save taxpayers $2 billion a year.
- Property Tax Freeze: The Executive Budget provides a two year property tax freeze to residents in local taxing jurisdictions that agree to abide by the property tax cap in the first year. In the second year the local taxing jurisdiction must remain within the cap and must submit a shared services plan with neighboring local governments that achieves savings equal to one percent of the combined tax levy in year one, two percent in year two and three percent by year three of implementation. The freeze will generate $1 billion in tax relief for residential property taxpayers. On Long Island, almost 700,000 homeowners will save an average of $565 by the second year of the freeze, saving $394 million for Long Island taxpayers.
- Residential Real Property Personal Income Tax Credit (Circuit Breaker): The Executive Budget creates a refundable tax credit against the personal income tax to provide targeted real property tax relief based on an individual homeowner's ability to pay. This relief program is progressively structured to provide a greater proportion of benefits to those with the highest property tax burdens as a share of their income. When fully phased in, the program, valued at almost $1 billion, will benefit over 2 million homeowners yielding an average benefit of $500. On Long Island, approximately 367,700 households will qualify for an average real property personal income tax credit of $755. Of the $1 billion in savings that will result from the circuit breaker, $278 million will accrue to residents of Long Island.
- Renters Credit: Available to households with dependents and with incomes under $100,000 and to senior singles earning less than $50,000, renters will be eligible for a credit against their personal income tax, with the credit increasing as income decreases. On Long Island, approximately 104,000 renters will receive an average credit of $269. Long Island renters will receive a total of $28 million in tax relief.
- Corporate Tax Reform: The Executive Budget combines the corporate franchise and bank taxes to provide tax simplification and relief, and improve voluntary compliance. Further, the tax rate on net income is reduced from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent, the lowest rate since 1968.
- 20 Percent Real Property Tax Credit for Manufacturers: To help lower the cost of conducting business for manufacturers and create jobs, the Budget provides a statewide refundable credit equal to 20 percent of property taxes paid by manufacturers who own property.
- Eliminate 18-a Temporary Assessment for Industrial Customers, Accelerate Phase Out for All Others: At present, the temporary assessment on utilities is scheduled to be eliminated by March 2017. Recognizing the need for immediate relief, the Executive Budget eliminates the assessment on industrial customers in the next fiscal year and accelerates the phase-out for all other customers. The phase-out will save businesses and residents $600 million over the next three years.
The Executive Budget continues the Governor's commitment to eliminate mandates on to local governments, school districts, and their taxpayers to provide real, recurring relief. The overall savings to local governments, over five years, will be $4.6 billion. Such reforms include:
- Medicaid Relief: Medicaid is one of the biggest costs for counties and New York City. The State is absorbing the growth in the local share of Medicaid growth, saving counties and New York City $1.2 billion over five years. Along with the expense growth, the State is also assuming Medicaid administrative responsibilities for counties. This will result in greater efficiencies and help achieve State and Federal health care reform initiatives.
- Pension Reform: In recent years, pensions have been one of the fastest growing costs for local governments and school districts. In 2012, a new pension tier was created in the State pension system that will save the State, local governments, and school districts $80 billion over the next 30 years. In 2013, local governments and school districts were given the option to have a more stable pension contribution rate, which has greater predictability and allows locals to access the savings from the 2012 reforms.
- Affordable Care Act Funding Acceleration: The 2013-14 Budget used State funds to lower County Medicaid Cap contributions by $86 million through an advancement of enhanced FMAP for the period January 1, 2014 through March 31, 2014 associated with childless adults under the Affordable Care Act Over the next five years, counties and the City of New York will save a total of $2.4 billion as a result of the ACA related enhanced FMAP.
- Early Intervention: Reforms to the Early Intervention program enacted with the 2012-13 budget will save local governments $54 million over five years.
The Executive Budget provides an additional round of funding for the Regional Economic Development Councils. Coupled with the extensive tax relief and reform described above, these actions build upon the economic successes of the past three years to further expand economic opportunities for all New Yorkers.
- Regional Economic Development Councils. The Executive Budget includes $150 million in new economic development capital funding and $70 million in State tax credits that will be combined with a wide range of existing agency programs for a fourth round of REDC awards to fund regional priority projects.
- Strengthening Consumer Protections. The Executive Budget contains proposals under the purview of the Department of Financial Services (DFS) aimed at strengthening consumer protections. These include protecting consumers from costly surprise out-of-network medical bills, curbing no-fault insurance fraud to lower auto insurance rates, lowering the cost of title insurance, and establishing a Student Protection Unit within DFS to serve as the consumer watchdog for New York's students.
TRANSFORMING NEW YORK'S SCHOOLS
The 2014-15 Executive Budget provides $21.88 billion in total school aid, a record level of assistance from the State. In addition, the Governor is proposing a $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act to ensure that our schools are equipped with the most up to date technology—to help equalize the playing field for all students. With a $1.5 billion, 5 year investment, the State will embark on a statewide effort to expand the availability of pre-kindergarten for all 4 year olds. This effort will complement a new $720 million, 5 year commitment by the State to support expanded after school programs.
On Long Island specifically, school districts in Nassau and Suffolk Counties will receive $2.6 billion in school aid for 2014-15, exclusive of the Governor's pledge to provide funding to support expansion of quality Pre-K programs. This represents a $74 million year-to-year increase in School Aid. In addition, if the voters approve the Smart Schools Bond Act in November, the Island will receive $259 million to invest in technology and expansion of Pre-K space. Finally, Long Island schools will be eligible for funding under the Governor's $720 million, five-year After School Program.
The Executive Budget strengthens the ability of New York's public system of higher education to excel both academically and as an economic engine. New strategic investments will yield further academic gains, create employment opportunities, and connect graduates to jobs.
- Expand and Launch Another Round of NYSUNY 2020 and NYCUNY 2020. The Executive Budget includes $110 million for a new and expanded round of NYSUNY 2020 and NYCUNY 2020 grants, $55 million for each university system. Priority will be given to plans that use technology to improve academic success and job opportunities for students, leverage public-private partnerships through the START-UP NY program, and better connect students to the workforce.
- Offer a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Scholarship. The Executive Budget includes $8 million in funding for a new STEM scholarship program. Full tuition scholarships to any SUNY or CUNY college or university will be offered to the top ten percent of high school graduates if they pursue a STEM career and work in New York for five years.
- Connect the NY Youth Works Program to Community Colleges. To encourage more employers to hire inner-city youth, the Executive Budget will tie the occupational training component of the NY Youth Works Program to the Job Linkage Program.
PROGRESSIVE, SAFER, CLEANER, AND FAIRER COMMUNITIES
Assuring Quality Health Care for All New Yorkers:
The Executive Budget continues historic Medicaid reforms of the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) that are achieving better health care outcomes at a more sustainable cost. The Budget supports more effective models of care, sustains the State's health benefit exchange, encourages regional collaborations among providers and communities, and makes investments in health care infrastructure and health information technology to transform the health care delivery system.
- Increase Medicaid Funding Consistent with the Spending Cap. The Executive Budget reflects the continuation of the Medicaid spending cap enacted in 2011-12 and recommends funding consistent with its provisions. The Budget achieves $10.9 million in savings from public health and aging programs through program reforms, enterprise-wide efficiency measures, and general cost-control efforts.
- Continue Implementation of MRT Recommendations. The Executive Budget continues the implementation of MRT reforms. These reforms represent the most comprehensive restructuring of the Medicaid program in State history, with initiatives designed to improve the full spectrum of health care services. A cost neutral package of new MRT initiatives is proposed to make critical investments in health care delivery. Investments are balanced by savings resulting from targeted Medicaid integrity initiatives to eliminate fraud and abuse, improvements in benefits design, greater controls on pharmaceuticals, and compliance with Federal law that requires spousal support.
- Support the New York Health Benefit Exchange. Through January 17th, over 580,000 New Yorkers have completed applications and more than 326,000 have enrolled in coverage. Federal funding for the initial operations of the New York Health Benefit Exchange will end January 1, 2015, and the Executive Budget provides $54.3 million in 2014-15, growing to $148.3 million in State funding to sustain continued operations of the Exchange. These costs are more than offset by additional revenue generated by increased Exchange-related health insurance enrollment and enhanced Federal Medicaid payments authorized by the Affordable Care Act.
Protecting the Environment:
The Executive Budget increases the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), maintains State funding for core environmental, parks and agricultural programs, expands outdoor recreational opportunities, and provides a new round of New York Works capital funding for environmental facilities. State agency and public authority funding will continue to make New York a leader in the clean tech economy, reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change, and allow the transformation of our transmission system to a distributed smart grid network.
- Environmental Protection Fund. The Budget includes $157 million for the EPF, an increase of $4 million from 2013-14 as a result of increased and improved enforcement of the unclaimed deposit program.
- Brownfield Cleanup and State Superfund. The Executive Budget includes legislation to extend the Brownfields Cleanup Program for ten years, with important reforms to protect taxpayers and promote brownfield redevelopment, particularly in Upstate New York. Under the reformed program, remediation tax credits will only cover actual cleanup costs and redevelopment credits will be available for sites that have been vacant for over a decade, worth less than the cleanup costs, or are priority economic development projects. In addition, the Budget includes a new $100 million appropriation to extend the State Superfund cleanup program, including $10 million through the Environmental Restoration Program to address municipally-owned brownfields.
Fair & Just – Public Safety
- Protect Against Gun Violence. A total of $15.2 million will be invested through a new initiative called GIVE – Gun-Involved Violence Elimination to focus on reducing gun violence in New York's communities. This program will be offered to the same communities currently receiving Operation IMPACT funding.
- New York State Protection Cloud. The State will invest $10 million in shared technology for State and local law enforcement to eliminate barriers to effective information sharing, and support coordinated responses across jurisdictions. As local law enforcement agencies join the system over the next four years, savings to these participating agencies are expected to grow to $12 million annually.
- Continue Right-Sizing Prison Capacity. The Executive Budget reflects the previously-announced closure of four prisons which will save $30 million annually. Affected communities will be eligible for $24 million in new economic development grants to ease the economic impact resulting from the closures.
- Stop Drunk Drivers. Under a proposed new law included in the Budget, drivers found guilty twice of driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol within a three-year period will have their licenses suspended for five years. Drivers who have three such convictions in their lifetime will have their licenses permanently revoked.
- Crack-Down On Youth Texting While Driving. The Executive Budget includes legislation to intensify the efforts to curtail the prevalence of texting while driving by young drivers. Any person under the age of 21 convicted of texting-while-driving will have their license suspended for one year.
REIMAGINING NEW YORK FOR A NEW REALITY
The Executive Budget supports a strategy to transform New York's infrastructure, transportation networks, power systems, coastal protection, weather warning system, and emergency management, to better protect the State from future extreme weather.
The State is seeking the use of Federal funds appropriated for Sandy, Irene and Lee to implement this far-reaching program. With these resources, New York will rebuild the State's communities, homes, businesses, and infrastructure to restore the State's economy and mitigate potential damage from future storms.
- Long Island Office of the Department of Public Service. Consistent with Governor Cuomo's landmark legislation to restructure and improve oversight of electric service on Long Island, the Executive Budget includes $5.5 million in funding for 39 new employees and the creation of a new Long Island Office of DPS (DPS LI). The new office will be empowered to review utility rates and operations, including storm preparedness and performance, to ensure Long Island electric customers receive reliable utility service at just and reasonable rates. PSEG Long Island, the new utility operating the electrical grid on Long Island, is seeking to freeze rates at 2013 levels through 2015.
- New York Works Infrastructure Investment. The Executive Budget provides $135 million of new appropriations for the next round of the New York Works capital program that will address a backlog of environmental capital needs and spur job creation and economic development statewide.
- Establish a State-of-the-Art Weather Detection System. The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) will collaborate with an academic partner to secure a private entity to establish and operate a state-of-the-art weather detection system – one of only six such systems in the nation. An initial capital investment of $15 million is being sought from Federal funding related to Superstorm Sandy.
- Create a College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity. The Executive Budget includes $15 million in capital resources to fund initial planning and development costs for a new College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity within SUNY.
- Equip Gas Stations with Back-up Power Capacity. New York is the first state in the nation with a comprehensive plan to ensure that power is maintained at strategically located gas stations in an emergency. This program is being extended to include approximately 241 Upstate gas stations within a half mile of exits on critical highways. Another $3.1 million will be made available through Federal funding related to Superstorm Sandy.
- Expand State Strategic Fuel Reserves. To prevent future supply disruptions, the current strategic fuel reserve will be expanded statewide to serve emergency responders. The estimated $10 million cost is expected to be supported by the New York Power Authority.
- Prepare Citizens for Emergencies. The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, in collaboration with the National Guard, will offer emergency preparedness courses throughout the year to interested citizens, with a goal of training 100,000 citizens by March 31, 2015. Support for this initiative will come from Federal homeland security funds.
- Achieve Statewide Interoperable Communications. The State will invest another $75 million toward statewide interoperable communications in 2014-15, including a new program distributing $10 million in annual formula-driven grants to counties to support ongoing operations of public safety communications centers.
- Increase Transit Aid Levels. The Executive Budget proposes $4.8 billion of transit aid for systems throughout the State. Downstate systems, funded principally by dedicated taxes imposed in the region, will receive over $4.6 billion, an increase of $90.7 million.
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