Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended his economic-development program START-UP NY on Wednesday and the multimillion-dollar and multi-state advertising campaign to promote it.

The START-UP zones provide tax-free incentives for a number of years to new businesses that come to New York and settle on college campuses or other state-designated areas.

“These Start Up zones — this flips the entire equation,” Cuomo said in Rochester, where a slate of the first firms in the program were announced. “There’s more to do, but we’re on the right track.”

 He added the tax-free zones are “the cheapest place in the country to do business.”

But the governor bristled at a question about the criticism of the ad campaign for START-UP NY and the “Open For Business” program designed to lure companies to New York.

“Facts — I know it’s a political season and facts don’t matter and your question doesn’t have any facts,” Cuomo told a reporter. “We started this program years ago, so it’s first thing I’ve been doing since I got into office. I got elected saying to the people of this state it’s about getting businesses and jobs back and taxes down, and we have to get businesses coming back to New York, we have to get young people coming back to New York, we have to stop young people from leaving New York. And that’s the New York Open for Business campaign.”

The ads do not feature Cuomo’s image or mention the governor.

Nevertheless, Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino has questioned and the criticized the spending for ads as a promotional tool for the governor.

“I’ll tell you what validates it: 440,00 new jobs, largest drop in unemployment upstate in years,” Cuomo added.