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Unshackle Upstate releases economic revitalization plan

Rochester Business Journal
September 3, 2013

The Unshackle Upstate coalition of businesses released a five-point plan Tuesday to revitalize the upstate economy, including three tax-reduction measures and an endorsement of Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing.

The organization’s Economic Revitalization Agenda includes reducing state income taxes by 25 percent for upstate residents making less than $50,000 annually, phasing out the corporate franchise tax for upstate businesses in 25 percent increments over four years and cutting the state sales tax by 50 percent in targeted upstate communities.

Executive Director Brian Sampson urged the state Legislature to approve the five initiatives during its 2014 legislative session.

“Our upstate communities have been victimized by a three-headed monster for decades,” Sampson said in a statement. “Our New ERA for Upstate plan will help combat the burdensome taxes, high unemployment rates and population losses that have plagued upstate for far too long.

“This five-point plan will reduce taxes for people and businesses that need it the most. It will also create thousands of good-paying jobs and boost the upstate economy.”

The income tax reduction would save taxpayers $225 million, Unshackle Upstate said.
 
Cutting the franchise tax by 25 percent in fiscal 2014-15 would save $273 million, and reducing the state sales tax to 2 percent from 4 percent in counties with significant population loss and high unemployment would save $250 million, they said.

Orleans is the only county in the Rochester market on the coalition’s list of 18 counties with high unemployment and population loss. Orleans and Clinton counties tied for 11th with unemployment rates of 8.4 percent. Orleans is 18th in population loss at 0.1 percent from 2010 to 2012.

Developing the Marcellus Shale would generate $78 million in 2014-15, with future revenues increasing as natural gas development activity increases, with total revenues approaching $860 million, Unshackle Upstate said.

Unshackle also recommends eliminating the 18a energy assessment placed on upstate manufacturers, saving $190 million in 2014-15 with costs reduced in subsequent years until the tax is phased out.

(c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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