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Tax-Free Zones

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Albany, NY - All of New York State's Empire Zones converted to tax-free status at midnight last night, giving businesses that operate in them complete freedom from state sales, income, and property taxes.

"This is a proud day for the Empire State," said Governor Sweetwater, who was standing in front of the Albany Steamworks as the clock ticked past midnight. "New York has outpaced all competing states with a very simple offer: come here, and there aren't any state taxes, no questions asked. We're able to cut our regulation of the system drastically, simply demanding proof of actual operation in the Empire Zone, and businesses can grow without the red tape they faced before."

Reaction around the state was mixed. Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Abigail Connors lauded the move, saying that "At long last I believe the Empire State has come to understand the value generated in its Empire Zones." While she expressed concern over possible increases in other taxes to make up for the lost revenue, she predicted that "state and local governments just can't keep raising one tax to make up for another. We're finally going to see the reductions in government we've been demanding for nearly seventy years."

Carl Jeffers of the Fiscal Policy Institute was less enthusiastic. "The next step, I guess, is to pay companies to come here, risk-free, with no oversight at all. Of course, it will be hard to do that, as tax revenue continuously falls. Previous iterations of the Empire Zone program had major corruption issues but also didn't do very much to increase New York's employment rate, and it's hard to imagine this doing much better. It's an impressive new step in selling out New York State's remaining citizens, though."

Schenectady Mayor Thomas Curler, in a prepared statement, congratulated the Governor for his "bold steps toward reviving New York. With the help of these enhanced zones, we'll be able to quickly rebuild our state's economy and free it from the excessive taxation that has burdened it for over a century." Curler held his own celebrations with General Electric Chairman Ross Trantor, who compared the new freedom from taxes to the "Six Sigma" achievements of earlier generations at his company - "There are a lot fewer defects in New York State now!"

In Buffalo, waterfront manufacturing is expected to get a boost, with raw materials coming in and finished goods going out - all by water, to export markets, with no other connection to taxable activities in the state. Workers coming and going from the zone will have to pay state taxes, but nothing else in the zone will. Similar facilities are opening in Rochester, Oswego, and Massena, though some uncertainty remains over the impact of rising federal tariffs.



ITHACA, NY - Cornell University celebrated the retirement of its president, Dr. Waclaw Czerwinski, whose 2013 accident at the University's Synchrotron led directly to the low-cost fusion power the world enjoys today.

"Luck was with me that day," reiterated Czerwinski. "My mistakes in setting up the experiment produced a small but strange amount of unexpected energy. and it only took five years to move from that error to a surprisingly practical source of energy."

Czerwinski, who grew up in Buffalo's East Side, seized the opportunity to help his hometown and the surrounding area. He described his childhood in his farewell address:

"When I was a child, I was very angry to see what seemed like everything leaving Buffalo, both people and businesses. I almost went into politics, but my parents kept pushing me toward the sciences. As it turned out, I've been able to do much more as a scientist than as a politician."

Czerwinski's successes, both in his initial (and repeatable) discovery and later in his rapid drive toward commercial implementation, led him quickly to a platform where he could control the way his ideas were used: the Presidency of Cornell.

"The Trustees were pleased to invite me, much to my surprise, and I'm not sure they quite understood why I was interested in the job. I'd been lucky enough to be doing that work on university funds, so the university had clear control of the patents. I wanted to ensure that those patents helped the area I care about, in addition to easing the world's energy problems."

Czerwinski's vision extended beyond Buffalo to include much of central and western New York. The primary assembly point for the fusion reactors is an enormous facility in Buffalo, but ceramic components are made in Corning and Rochester, and electronics in Jamestown, Syracuse, and Binghamton, with fuel processing in Oswego. Cornell itself, in Ithaca, remains the main center for research on the practical side of the field. Other universities have established centers, but focus mostly on the theoretical side.

"These reactors produce so much energy so cheaply," said Czerwinski, "that we could have set nearly any price for them. That would, however, have invited price-based competition. Instead, we set prices at a level that comfortably covers manufacturing costs, including a fine living for all of our workers with money left over to help Cornell reach more students. We know how to make these reactors reliably and safely, and they are so incredibly cheap relative to other forms of energy production that we can help this area tremendously while easing the burden of the world as well. That may not last forever, but hopefully our current lead will last another thirty years."

In his conclusion, Czerwinski thanked university founder Ezra Cornell for his confidence that "Cornell University could produce practical results, helping its students, its community, its state, and the world. His founding of 'an institution where any person can find instruction in any study' has brought us to a wonderful new world where we can help more people find more studies."

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