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  1. Florida Politics

CFO Jeff Atwater blasts N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo as 'huckster' over ad campaign

Florida CFO Jeff Atwater is running for re-election this year.
Published Jul. 21, 2014

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is accusing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of running a deceptive TV ad campaign designed to lure businesses to the Empire State.

"We know a huckster when we see one," Atwater, who dashed off a letter about his concerns, told the New York Post about the Cuomo administration's $113 million TV and radio "START-UP NY" ads in Florida and other states. The ads promote New York's business climate and tourism.

But Cuomo's office said Atwater is misconstruing the incentives the ad campaign is promoting.

"For a CFO, he must be pretty bad at math if he doesn't understand that the zero in StartUp's zero-tax zones means no state taxes for new businesses," Cuomo spokesman Matthew Wing said in an email response.

In his letter dated July 18, Atwater said the ads contain "glaring errors and misstatements" about New York as a place to work. And he pointed to the number of New Yorkers who have moved to low-tax Florida, a job-creation leader.

"These advertisements portray an image of New York that simply cannot be supported by facts, particularly in comparison with Florida," wrote Atwater, who is running for re-election this year and faces little-known Democrat William Rankin.

"The reality is that New York boasts the highest taxes in America, the highest costs of living in the country, and one of the worst business climates in the nation. Conversely, by every objective measure, Florida continues to be one of the best states in which to start a business and raise a family."

This isn't the first time Cuomo has drawn the ire of an elected Republican from outside New York. In April, Texas Gov. Rick Perry visited New York in an effort to lure jobs to Texas and challenged Cuomo to a debate.

Cuomo declined the offer from the Republican, who plans to run for president in 2016.

"I don't think so," a grinning Cuomo said, according to USA Today.

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