Public Union Fights 'Tax Free New York'

May 29, 2013 Updated May 29, 2013 at 11:30 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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May 29, 2013 Updated May 29, 2013 at 11:30 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Everyone likes something for free, unless it's the governor's new proposal for tax-free zones in New York.

A powerful state union is launching a campaign, blasting the plan, calling it unfair to existing businesses.

The governor's plan is hoping to shed New York of its well-known reputation as a high tax state.

"The number one reason businesses leave NY is because is because of our tax situation," Cuomo said last week.

He is pitching a plan called Tax Free New York, which calls for setting up tax-free zones near public colleges. That has angered unions, including one of the state's largest public unions, which has launched a radio campaign.

"This is just a very bad precedent in a lot of different ways," said CSEA spokesman Stephan Madarasz

"When we go around starting to create special classes of employees who pay no taxes we believe it undermines people's confidence in the integrity of our system," he said.

But business leaders say the governor's plan shows some promise and may not cost the state a dime if it fails.

Amherst Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Colleen DiPirro said she is intrigued by the plan.

"The Devil is always in the details. I think the governor wants dedicate resources to initiatives that will pay dividends to the taxpayers and help us grow our economy," she said.

Cuomo will need the legislature to act on Tax Free New York before the end of the current session which ends on June 20.