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SUBMITTED by Office of Governor David A. Paterson, New York State (27-July-2009)


Program Will Create Jobs and Draw Private Investment to New York’s Historic Main Streets

Enhancements Will Make Tax Credits More Effective in Preserving Historic Structures

Governor David A. Paterson signed legislation to strengthen the New York State Historic Preservation Tax Credit, improving a program that will stimulate investment in urban neighborhoods, create jobs, increase property values and revitalize historic areas. The Governor held a ceremonial bill signing at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society and was joined by members of the Senate, Assembly and community. The rehabilitation tax credit program provides incentives to developers, municipalities, businesses and residents to make investments in distressed areas by rehabilitating historic properties that are listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

“New York has a wealth of historic properties, particularly in our small cities, that are falling into disrepair or are underutilized. The enhanced Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit will breathe new life into the State’s historic downtown areas while creating jobs and revitalizing the economy,” said Governor Paterson. “As we move forward toward the New Economy, it is critical that we continue to use our State resources to leverage private investment dollars to take our distressed historic areas and return them to vibrant centers of commerce and culture.”

Historic preservation efforts play an important role in smart growth community renewal. Preservation efforts have proven to create jobs, attract small business, increase property values and promote affordable housing. In addition, historic preservation works to enhance the quality of life in historic urban neighborhoods by maintaining the distinctive culture and character of the area.

Senator David J. Valesky said: “This is a crucial victory for Upstate New York and our economic development efforts. The Historic Preservation Tax Credit has the potential to draw developers back to our Upstate cities and villages, to reignite economic activity on our main streets, and to bring people and businesses back to our communities. This was one of my top legislative goals for the year, and it is a major win for all of Upstate New York. I want to thank Assemblyman Sam Hoyt for sponsoring this legislation in the Assembly, and Governor Paterson for recognizing its importance and signing it into law.”

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt said: “This law will result in significant investment in our struggling Upstate cities, both in the downtowns and the neighborhoods. Buffalo, with her great inventory of historic buildings, will likely benefit more than any other city. In addition to restoring our historic buildings, this bill will create real jobs, revitalize our downtowns and stabilize our neighborhoods. I thank Governor Paterson for his leadership in signing this bill into law.”

Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Carol Ash said: “I applaud Governor Paterson for approving this critically important and innovative economic development incentive. The new law will make the Historic Preservation Tax Credit more effective in aiding the unique cities, towns and villages that define much of New York’s history and culture – and will do so in an environmentally sound manner by reusing existing resources.”

Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League of New York State, said: “We have every reason to believe that the New York State Preservation Tax Credit will prove one of the most effective economic and community development programs in the State. We are enormously grateful to Senator Valesky and Assemblyman Hoyt for shepherding this important Smart Growth initiative through their respective houses and to the leadership of the Senate and the Assembly for their vision in passing this legislation. We thank New York’s mayors, county executives and other municipal leaders who have shown unwavering support for this effort. Finally, we express our great admiration for Governor Paterson for signing these historic tax credits into law today.”

While New York’s preservation tax credit was adopted in 2006, the program did not provide adequate incentives to attract sufficient investment to struggling municipalities, particularly those Upstate. The enhancements signed by Governor Paterson will provide the following tax incentives for qualified historic properties:

  • Gradually increase over five years the cap on the commercial credit value from $100,000 to $5 million and the residential credit value from $25,000 to $50,000;
  • Target the credit in “distressed” areas -- those located within a Census tract identified at or below one hundred percent of the median family income;
  • Increase the share of qualified rehabilitation costs that commercial property owners can claim for the credit from 6 percent to 20 percent; and
  • Offer the Preservation Tax Credit as a rebate for lower income homeowners to provide them with a stronger financial incentive with relatively smaller tax liability.

The program will apply to taxable years beginning January 1, 2010, and will sunset in five years on December 31, 2014.

The following statements were provided in support of the Enhanced Historic Preservation Tax Credit:

Senate President Malcolm A. Smith said: “Given our ongoing efforts to turn the economy around and put New York on a sensible path toward long-term economic growth, this is exactly the kind of smart economic development program we need to strengthen our communities. Every region of this State will benefit from the reinvestment and beautification of our neighborhoods. I give Senator Valesky credit for his thoughtful approach to economic revitalization, and to the Governor for recognizing the significance of the Senate’s legislation.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: “This legislation will help stimulate the economies of distressed communities, particularly upstate, by building on a tax incentive program that encourages the rehabilitation of commercial and residential properties of historic value across New York State.The program will not only encourage investment in vacant, underutilized and deteriorating buildings, but will also create jobs and foster economic growth.

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said: “By strengthening New York’s rehabilitation tax credit program, we can better promote the preservation of historic properties, while encouraging much-needed investment, private sector job creation and targeted economic development in main streets and communities all across our State.”

Senator William T. Stachowski, Chairman of the New York State Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business said: “As a cosponsor of this important legislation, I support the effort to create economic stimulus and community redevelopment especially in Western New York. Many historic buildings throughout Upstate are currently vacant, underutilized, and deteriorating. By providing a tax credit for the rehabilitation of these properties, we can encourage their restoration to their former beauty and build up many distressed neighborhoods.”

Senator Antoine Thompson said: “The Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit will greatly benefit Western New York and I’m proud to be a co-sponsor of the bill. This tax credit will not only rehabilitate Western New York's historic properties, it will also create jobs and stimulate the economy.”

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger said: “The enhanced historic preservation tax credit that the Governor is signing today is another important tool in revitalizing our communities. By providing developers with the tools to repair, rehabilitate and preserve our architectural treasures, we are creating opportunities to attract new businesses and housing options. Under this program, our communities will reap long term and lasting benefits.”

Robert M. Simpson, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse, said: “The enhanced New York State historic rehabilitation tax credit provides a significant stimulus that will enable pivotal downtown redevelopment projects to move forward. By signing this legislation into law, Governor Paterson has given Syracuse, and all of our region’s urban cores, an essential reinvestment tool that will spur economic development across the State.”

Andrew J. Rudnick, President & CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, said: “Restoration projects in Upstate New York often require gap financing because the costs plain and simply are often not worth the return on investment. New construction is far more attractive from the perspective of dollars and cents. However, these types of projects adhere to the type of ‘smart’ growth principles that our regional planning entities have adopted. This investment in redevelopment will only serve to strengthen regional hubs throughout Upstate and help to build a firm foundation for future development. The Partnership applauds the State Legislature and the Governor for providing this important economic development tool to Upstate.”

Ben Walsh, Executive Director of the New York State Urban Council, said: “This bill represents a rare opportunity to breathe new life into New York State’s historic urban cores. The expanded historic rehabilitation tax credit program will produce a predictable and reliable economic development incentive that will target private investment and job growth in the distressed communities that need it most.”

Source: Governor David A. Paterson press release


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