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St. Lawrence County business leaders applaud Cuomo proposals

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CANTON — St. Lawrence County business leaders said Friday they are pleased with tax-cutting proposals suggested by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The business roundtable at St. Lawrence Brewery was organized by the county Industrial Development Agency.

“Intuitively, we felt the governor’s proposals were good,” Executive Director Patrick J. Kelly said. “It’s good to hear that first hand from the people affected.”

The governor’s budget is designed to address the Northeast’s reputation as having taxes that are too high and too complicated, Mr. Kelly said.

“Proposals that reduce the corporate income taxes for upstate manufacturers to zero, provide credits to offset manufacturers’s property taxes, and eliminate energy surcharges are direct and immediate measures that will help us to retain and attract manufacturing businesses in the north country,” Mr. Kelly said. “Beyond the cost savings measures, initiatives like Global NY, the Clarkson-Trudeau partnership, Start-Up NY, and the Innovation Hot Spots program have the potential to help us to attract investment and to turn our educational resources into economic generators.”

The initiatives are important for upstate, Canton Supervisor David T. Button said.

“As downstate New York begins to turn around, upstate New York, particularly the north country, is still struggling,” he said.

Specific proposals outlined by the governor appealed to individual businesses.

Potsdam Specialty Paper General Manager Ronald F. Charette said eliminating the 18-A surcharge — a 2 percent assessment levied on energy costs — for industrial users would be welcome news for high-energy use companies already operating under slim profit margins.

Tax relief will help startup companies grow, such as those based on biomass, said Patrick J. Curran, president and CEO of Curran Renewable Energy.

“I certainly believe this is going to be a help in building the industry,” he said.

Agriculture also gets a boost from the governor’s proposal, said Lisbon farmer Blake P. Gendebien.

“Raising the estate tax from one million to five-and-a-quarter million is extremely important to saving family farms,” he said. “Farmers tend to be asset rich but cash poor.”

The proposal puts New York on a more level playing field with states where there is no estate tax, he said.

County Legislator Jason A. Clark, D-Norfolk, said the governor’s proposals in total do a great deal to draw corporations to New York.

“I think this helps bring young people back and essentially helps put people back to work,” he said.

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