Leaders urge action to protect historic tax credits

Posted at 1:39 PM, Feb 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-01 13:39:56-05

New York State lawmakers met with local developers Thursday to address the future of the New York State Historic Tax Credit for commercial properties.

Local leaders say if no action is taken, the tax credit will sunset next year and the uncertainty could deter developers from exploring new projects.

When the federal historic tax credit was joined by the New York State historic tax credit in 2010, leaders say projects began to accelerate.

New York has been a national leader for the use of the federal historic credits, with more than $3.5 billion invested in historic project from FFY15-17.

Legislators, developers and advocates are urging action to allow the state historic tax credit to continue to be an effective economic development tool. 

The leaders urged the Governor's 30-day budget amendments to include:

  • Re-authorizing the State Tax Credit immediately, rather than waiting until the 2019 sunset date. Traditionally, a program like this is reauthorized two years before it is slated to sunset in order to sustain investor confidence.  That was the case in the 2013 re-authorization. 
  •  De-coupling of the State Credit from the Federal program.  Because the state law is piggy backed off of the federal credit, new projects are subject to the diminished incentives of the federal and state program, and are required to take the State credit over a 5 year period, further eroding the value of credits in New York State versus other States who will be able to continue to offer their credits up-front.
  • Technical fixes to help Western New York. WNY needs two additional technical fixes to spread the benefit of the historic tax credit to more of our distressed neighborhood centers and rural villages:  an increased tax credit rate for small projects under $2,500,000, and credit transferability, to attract increased private capital to NYS credit projects at no cost to the state.
  • A fix to ensure tax credits for some projects are not delayed until 2021. The Executive Budget Proposal delays current projects from taking tax credits in certain circumstances until 2021, which will have a major impact on important projects in WNY such as the Northland Corridor Training Facility, and the School 77 low income senior housing project, and discourages new projects from taking place.  The leaders are urging the Governor to exempt historic preservation projects from this tax credit delay, the same way he has exempted the film industry tax credits.