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You've probably seen the TV ads for "Start-up NY", the state program that offers tax-free (or maybe just tax-reduced?) status to businesses opening or re-locating to NY.  I checked the website, and it appears the program is geared toward very large businesses/manufacturers.  That may be a great program for the large businesses, but I think a program for small businesses could benefit towns such as Beacon.  What's to prevent Beacon from starting its own, small-scale version of this program, geared toward small businesses?  I grew up in Bradenton, Florida, where a very large piece of land was created on the city waterfront (on the Manatee River) by filling behind a seawall, with the expectation that development would occur, and tax revenues would result.  The land sat EMPTY for about 20 years before it was developed. The city could have offered a limited-duration tax-free status to businesses as soon as the land was available and I'm pretty sure they could have had the businesses that are there today (or earlier equivalents) MUCH sooner, with tax revenues eventually coming in.  The point of this story is that if you wait for things to happen, they might take a lot longer than you think, or never happen at all.  With jobs being in pretty short supply in Beacon, it seems an effort to promote small businesses through a tax-deferment program could be a win-win for everyone involved.  Perhaps partnering with private entities, such as the old Beacon High School (Bulldog Studios?), could have the desired outcome; the city could offer rent subsidies to get businesses started.  There must be other locations in Beacon waiting for small businesses to fill in.  The wait could be shortened with the proper incentives.

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Tags: business, jobs, small, taxes

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Comment by Ben Royce on April 9, 2014 at 12:18pm

I agree Steve, any program that increases ownership is a good thing.

Comment by Steve Knowles on April 7, 2014 at 5:17pm

That's a great story Ben!  I remember first seeing the Chobani yogurt in the stores and wondered, where did that come from? (it seemed like out of nowhere, it was everywhere)  Sounds like the small business administration has a pretty broad definition of small business; I guess it's based on the number of employees and not the size of the place they fund; congratulations to them on funding what some probably considered a lost-cause gamble at the time.

If you know how to form a "commission" through the City of Beacon, to look into how to promote growth of small businesses in Beacon, I'll volunteer to be a member.

As part of that effort, or at least complimentary to it, I think there should be a move to create low-income owner-occupied housing.  The existing low-income housing seems to be coming to an end of its expected life, so why not rebuild new, quality housing, yet small square footage, for individuals and families to live in, and OWN?  There could be requirements associated with it, like limiting the profit, if any, upon a sale, and eviction criteria that would encourage responsible home ownership.  I believe these kinds of "public housing" projects have had good success elsewhere.  Combining the potential for increased employment in Beacon, along with affordable home ownership, could result in significant, palpable, improvements to Beacon.

Comment by Ben Royce on April 7, 2014 at 4:37pm

East Fishkill is always on the verge of capturing some huge manufacturer... and losing some huge manufacturer. It would be interesting for someone who knows about the politics and incentives of retaining/ growing industry in Dutchess County to help us out/ comment.

I also looked around the Startup NY website awhile back, the locations they offered. Nothing around Dutchess:

http://startup.ny.gov/properties/mid-hudson-properties/

I think it has to be near an educational establishment to qualify? I always dreamed of turning the Craig House/ Hatworks/ University Settlement into some sort of educational campus. If NYU can open a satellite campus in the United Arab Emirates, why not one in upstate NY? If I only had an extra $100 million laying around.

The most impressive upstate NY startup story I've heard in awhile: this Kurdish immigrant buys a defunct yogurt plant in the Mohawk Valley with a US Small Business Administration loan, and takes it from $0 revenue in 2007... to $1 billion revenue in 2012. Holy cow!

Chobani yogurt. Really inspiring read:

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-01-31/at-chobani-the-turk...

He came to New York City in 1994 to learn English. Uncomfortable in the city, Ulukaya moved upstate, where he found farm work while attending classes at State University of New York at Albany. After a visit from his father, who complained about American feta cheese, Ulukaya started a company in Johnstown to make feta for restaurants and food distributors. He named it Euphrates and still owns it.

“People say, ‘It's yogurt, who cares?’ but there's emotion to it,” says UlukayaPhotograph by Brian Finke for Bloomberg Businessweek“People say, ‘It's yogurt, who cares?’ but there's emotion to it,” says Ulukaya

One day in 2004, as he was tidying up his office, he came across a postcard advertising a yogurt plant Kraft Foods (KRFT) was closing. He dropped the ad in the garbage, thought for a while, and fished it back out. The next day, Ulukaya drove to South Edmeston and visited the plant, an 84-year-old facility squatting in a valley between a hilltop graveyard and a biker bar. The walls were splotchy gray, and the equipment was old. Ulukaya wanted it anyway, and in August 2005, with the help of a U.S. Small Business Administration loan, he bought it for a sum he won’t disclose. His first employees were four ex-Kraft workers and Mustafa Dogan, a yogurt maker in Turkey Ulukaya knew by reputation. The first thing they did was paint the walls.

I love this guy's story. Now imagine if some guy does something like that here in Beacon.

I agree with you Steve, let's pull out all of the stops to make sure it happens here.

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