Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino on Monday continued his criticism of a state-funded advertising campaign, releasing a minute-long video questioning its return on investment.
Gannett’s Albany Bureau and other media outlets reported Friday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration spent $15.2 million on television ads touting START-UP NY, a program passed by the Legislature and signed by Cuomo last year that offers 10 years free of state taxes to businesses that locate in designated zones.
Astorino, who is seeking the Republican nod to challenge Cuomo, had been critical of the ads, highlighting the issue in his campaign-launch video earlier this month.
“Governor Cuomo owes New Yorkers some answers,” said in the video Monday. “Since January alone he has spent more than $15 million on those START-UP NY ads that you see day and night on New York TV and tens of millions of dollars before that. Yet Governor Cuomo refuses to give an account on any return on investment. How many businesses have been started up? How many jobs have been created? Any? He needs to answer these questions.”
While Astorino said the spending was since January, it was actually since Dec. 10, according to data provided by Empire State Development, the state’s economic development branch.
In a statement last week, and ESD spokesman defended the spending, which comes from a $150 million pot of funds flagged for marketing the state’s business climate and initiatives.
“The goal of START-UP NY – the game changing initiative passed with overwhelming bipartisan support last year – is to create new jobs, attract new businesses, and encourage current companies to expand, which is why we are investing the resources necessary to get the word out to companies in New York State and across the country,” said Jason Conwall, the spokesman.
Here’s Astorino’s video: