Preservation League Applauds Private Investment Act

Upstate revitalization projects may soon be on a faster track, now that banks and insurance companies can more readily utilize New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits to support commercial redevelopment projects according to the Preservation League of New York State.

The legislation, sponsored by Senator David Valesky (D-Oneida) and Assemblymember Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo, Grand Island), was seen as a key component in realizing the benefits of New York’s Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits, by bringing new private investment to these efforts. The Governor signed the bill recently, and the new law takes effect immediately.

The League led a coalition of developers, financiers, municipal officials, architects, not-for-profits and other groups to make this change to bring new investments to bear on redevelopment projects in New York State by allowing banks and insurance companies to apply the state Rehabilitation Tax Credits against their New York State franchise tax liabilities.

Banks and insurance companies are among the most active users of the Federal rehabilitation tax credit. Previously, companies based outside of New York State could only apply the credit against their general corporate income tax liability, which reduced the incentive for many companies to invest in rehabilitation projects in the Empire State. These companies may now apply the rehabilitation tax credit program against their state franchise tax liability.

According to Daniel Mackay, the Preservation League’s Director of Public Policy, &#8220This new law will allow a significantly larger pool of experienced and well-capitalized investors into the market for New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits. This will enable several important projects to move forward, despite the recently-enacted state tax credit deferral program.&#8221

In Part Y of the 2010-2011 Enacted Budget, tax credits for some thirty state business and economic development programs will be deferred to help balance the state spending plan, including incentives for the rehabilitation of commercial properties.

Critics worry that deferring incentives of the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit program will prevent projects from securing financing, as backers will no longer be assured of a timely return on investment. Homeowner rehabilitation projects are capped at $50,000 and are not affected by the deferrals.

&#8220The Senate and Assembly will be returning to Albany in the coming weeks,&#8221 said Mackay, &#8220and we will continue our advocacy in hopes of restoring the tax credit program to its intended format so that New York will finally begin to enjoy the long-sought economic and community redevelopment benefits of this program.&#8221

Commentary:Preservation Tax Credits Deferred

When the New York State Legislature approved the final piece of legislation to close out the State Budget on August 3, they also put the brakes on a number of desperately-needed revitalization projects.

In Part Y of the enacted Budget, tax credits for some thirty state business and economic development programs will be deferred to help balance the state spending plan, including incentives for the rehabilitation of commercial properties.

Specifically, New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits earned between 2010 and 2012 exceeding $2 million in value will be deferred on the following schedule:

* In 2013, 50% of the balance of credit value over $2 million will be available.
* In 2014, 75% of the remaining balance of credit value will be available.
* In 2015, 100% of the remaining balance of credit value will be available.

Deferring incentives of the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit program will prevent projects from securing financing, as backers will no longer be assured of a timely return on investment, and will be severely limited in the number of projects in which they can invest.

&#8220As the economic recovery continues to make slow progress at the national level, the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program provided a glimmer of hope for our beleaguered upstate cities,&#8221 said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League of New York State. &#8220Now, many of the projects that could transform our struggling downtowns are effectively on hold.&#8221

Homeowner rehabilitation projects are capped at $50,000 and therefore will not be affected.

&#8220Our efforts to protect the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit program in last week’s final budget negotiations fell just short,&#8221 said Daniel Mackay, the League’s Director of Public Policy. &#8220The Senate and Assembly will be returning to Albany in the coming weeks, and we will continue our advocacy in hopes of securing full funding for the rehabilitation tax credit at that time.&#8221

According to DiLorenzo, &#8220When the expanded Rehabilitation Tax Credit program was adopted in 2009, a number of modifications were made to reflect New York State’s difficult financial situation. This program has already been adapted to work in a tough fiscal climate. If further changes are imposed upon the program, it will lose all effectiveness as an economic development tool. The tax credits should be allowed to work, unimpeded, in distressed municipalities and neighborhoods across New York State.&#8221

Preservationists Decry Proposed Cuts to Tax Credits

The Preservation League of New York State joined economic development, smart growth and environmental groups in denouncing the Legislature’s plans on tax law amendments that it says will &#8220undermine years of work to revitalize the upstate economy, protect open space and foster green initiatives.&#8221

The New York State Senate and Assembly are considering tax law amendments that would temporarily defer certain state tax credit incentives for up to six years. Among the targeted credits are the recently expanded (2009) NYS Rehabilitation Tax Credit programs. Just last week, the Senate and Assembly passed legislation designed to bolster these programs by bringing new private investment to redevelopment projects.

&#8220The New York State Legislature is considering tax law changes that will gut this program one week after they passed legislation that allows it to attract significant new national investment to distressed communities throughout New York State,&#8221 said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. &#8220Just as redevelopment projects are set to launch in cities throughout the state, this proposed change pulls the rug out from beneath their financing plans.&#8221

According to Robert Simpson, CEO of the CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity in Syracuse, &#8220This rehabilitation tax credit has been anticipated by many as one of New York’s most effective economic development programs, but before we can begin to realize its long-sought economic and community redevelopment benefits, the Legislature is about strip the program of the incentives that make it work.&#8221

Deferring incentives of the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit program are expected to prevent some projects from securing financing, as partners will no longer be assured of a timely return on investment.

&#8220When the expanded Rehabilitation Tax Credit program was adopted in 2009, a number of modifications were made to reflect New York State’s difficult financial situation,&#8221 said Daniel Mackay, Director of Public Policy for the Preservation League. &#8220This program has already been adapted to work in a tough fiscal climate. If further changes are imposed upon the program, it will lose all effectiveness as an economic development tool.&#8221

In 2009, the rehabilitation tax credit programs were limited to distressed census tracts in New York State, commercial rehabilitation project credits were capped at a maximum value of $5 million, and the credits were limited to a five-year pilot program, set to sunset in 2014. Despite those limitations, an economic benefits assessment for the program commissioned by the Preservation League showed a $12:1 return on state investment, noting significant job creation and increased local and state tax revenue returns in addition to community redevelopment benefits.

Twenty-eight other business tax credits were also mentioned in legislative discussions, a number of which address environmental clean-ups, promote alternative fuel and energy development, stimulate affordable housing and green building development, and conserve open space.

The tax credits under threat include the Rehabilitation of Commercial (Historic) Properties Credit (expanded in 2009, 2010 enhancement bill is Governor’s program bill, and has passed Senate and Assembly), and the Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Credit (expanded in 2009, 2010 enhancement bill is Governor’s program bill, and has passed Senate and Assembly).

The proposal under consideration would defer 50% of allowable credits accrued by a project from 2010 – 2013 until 2013 -2016. Rules for allocation in 2013-2016 will be promulgated by the Commissioner of Tax & Finance, so there is not yet any suggestion as to how the credits will be issued in that three year period.

2010 Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards

The Preservation League of New York State is seeking nominations for its 2010 Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards, which recognize significant achievements in historic preservation throughout New York State. The postmark deadline for nominations is February 11, 2010. The awards will be presented during the Preservation League’s Annual Meeting on May 12, 2010 in New York City at the historic New York Yacht Club.

&#8220Too many historic buildings throughout New York State are currently vacant, underutilized, and deteriorating,&#8221 said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. &#8220Our annual Awards program allows us to share preservation success stories that may one day serve as inspiration to others. By highlighting meaningful contributions in the field of historic preservation, we encourage high standards for other projects, foster revitalization of our historic neighborhoods and downtowns, and celebrate New York’s incomparable architectural legacy.&#8221

Nomination forms will be mailed by January 1, and are available for download as a PDF. For additional information on the awards please contact the Preservation League office at 518-462-5658 x17- or by email at awards@preservenys.org.

Workshops And Webinars On NYS Preservation Tax Credit

The Preservation League of New York State is sponsoring or participating in a series of workshops and webinars this fall to help New Yorkers take advantage of New York’s expanded preservation tax credit which begins in 2010. The tax benefit provides incentives for developers and municipalities seeking to rehabilitate historic buildings, and is hoped to advance redevelopment and economic stimulus goals throughout New York State by spurring over $500 million dollars of economic activity and creating some 2,000 jobs over its initial five-year lifespan.

The act will take effect on January 1, 2010. For more information on New York’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit Programs, call the New York State Historic Preservation Office at (518) 237-8643 or visit http://nysparks.state.ny.us/shpo/investment/index.htm .

Workshops and webinars:

Albany Tax Credit Workshop
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Time: 8:30 to 12:00 noon
Place: 11 North Pearl Street
$5 for Historic Albany Foundation members, $10 for the general public. Email Cara Macri at cmacri@historic-albany.org or call 518-465-0876 x12

Rochester Tax Credit Workshop
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Time: 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Place: Nixon Peabody LLP, 1100 Clinton Square
Register online, or for more information, email Dan Kolodner at dkolodner@nixonpeabody.com.

Statewide Tax Credit Webinar
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Time: 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The law firm of Cannon Heyman & Weiss will host a webinar on the recently expanded NYS Historic Preservaion Tax Credit. For further details and registration information, visit www.chwattys.com or call 518-465-1500 (Albany) or 716-856-1700 (Buffalo).

Syracuse Tax Credit Workshop
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Time: 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Place: Hotel Syracuse, 500 South Warren Street, Persian Terrace
Sponsored by the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York. For more information, contact Ben Walsh at brwalsh@mda-cny.com.

Buffalo Tax Credit Workshop
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Times: 1:00 &#8211 3:00 p.m. (Commercial) 5:30 &#8211 7:30 p.m. (Residential)
Place: Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, 25 Nottingham Terrace
Hosted by Assemblymember Sam Hoyt, the workshops will offer guidance for people and businesses interested in using the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits authored by the Assemblyman. To RSVP, call Preservation Buffalo Niagara at 716-852-3300.

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Governor Signs Rehabilitation Tax Credit Enhancements

ny capitolJoined by state, municipal and local advocates for community revitalization and historic preservation, Governor David Paterson signed legislation that greatly improves the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit program. The measure (A.9023-Hoyt/S.6056-Valesky) provides incentives and program features for developers and municipalities seeking to rehabilitate historic buildings, and is hoped to advance redevelopment and economic stimulus goals throughout New York State.

“We have every reason to believe that the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit will prove one of the most effective economic and community development programs in the state,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League of New York State, the not-for-profit organization that led the charge for enhanced tax credits.

Commissioner Deborah VanAmerongen of the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal said, “The Rehabilitation Tax Credits will foster new private and federal investment where it is most needed: our economically distressed downtowns and commercial districts, main streets, and older residential neighborhoods. Further, these incentives will encourage the use or reuse of existing affordable housing resources. I’m delighted that we now have a more powerful tool for revitalizing communities across New York State. “

New York’s first-ever rehabilitation tax credit was adopted as Chapter 547 of the Laws of 2006, but limitations of both the commercial and residential programs failed to provide sufficient incentives to deliver economic and community revitalization to municipalities in need. An economic impact study recently conducted by HR&A Advisors of New York, an industry leader in economic development, real estate and public policy consulting, predicts that the enhanced rehabilitation tax credit will spur over $500 million dollars of economic activity in New York State and create some 2,000 jobs over its initial five-year lifespan.

The act will take effect on January 1, 2010. For more information on New York’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit Programs, call the New York State Historic Preservation Office at (518) 237-8643 or visit http://nysparks.state.ny.us/shpo/investment/index.htm .

Preservation League to Honor 2009 Award Recipients

The Preservation League of New York State will honor and celebrate the recipients of its Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards at the The New York Yacht Club, 37 West 44th Street &#8211 New York City on Wednesday evening, May 13, 2009 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The suggested donation is $60 per ticket. For more information contact Shelley LaClair at 518-462-5658 x13 or download the invitation and RSVP card from the League’s website at www.preservenys.org.

Preservation in Tough Economic Times

Daniel Mackay, Director of Public Policy for the Preservation League of New York State, testified at a hearing of the New York State Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees regarding economic development initiatives and arguing for an expanded tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic properties in distressed areas as a way to stimulate the economy:

If New York is to be successful in preserving open space, working farmland and curbing sprawl, economic development must be directed back to existing municipal infrastructure, and that will require recognition and reuse of New York State’s extraordinary legacy of historic buildings in our commercial downtowns and residential neighborhoods across the Empire State.

Because New York State faces a severe budget challenge, now is the time to prioritize implementation of the tools and programs that target public and private reinvestment where it is most needed, in ways that most effectively leverage private and federal dollars for community renewal and economic reinvestment, and in ways that most aggressively and immediately meet economic stimulus benchmarks.

The program that meets these tests and serves these goals is an expanded New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit. Legislation will shortly be introduced by Senator David Valesky and Assemblymember Sam Hoyt which will effectively and appropriately expand this program, direct stimulus and rehabilitation activity to distressed areas, and contain costs for New York State…

The Preservation League, and a diverse and growing partnership of business leaders, municipal officials, economic development interests, and a wide array of environmental and preservation organizations [including the Landmark Society] are joining together in a campaign entitled “Reinvest New York” to promote inclusion of this program in the enacted 2009-2010 New York State Budget…

Implementation of an expanded New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit program represents a targeted investment in the downtowns and historic neighborhoods that form the core of municipalities across New York State, and represents exactly the type of investment that New York State should make in difficult economic and budgetary times: a targeted tool that leverages significant federal and private investment and delivers proven results and benefits to municipalities across New York State.

Apparently, according to Confessions of a Preservationist, Maryland, Missouri and Rhode Island, are three states with good tax credit programs that produce significant economic benefits. &#8220In Rhode Island every $1 million in state tax credit investment leverages $5.35 million in total economic output.&#8221 Preservationist notes,  &#8220In other words, the program more than pays for itself – it generates income for the state and creates jobs while improving our communities.&#8221

Preservation League Seeks Award Nominations

The Preservation League of New York State is seeking nominations for its 2009 Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards, which recognize notable achievements in historic preservation throughout New York State. The postmark deadline for nominations is February 12, 2009. The awards will be presented during the Preservation League’s Annual Meeting in May in New York City. The Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards program continues a tradition that began in 1979 to acknowledge excellence in the protection and revitalization of the Empire State’s historic architectural and cultural resources.

By honoring meaningful accomplishments in the field of historic preservation, the League hopes to further encourage standards of excellence and to increase public awareness of and support for historic preservation throughout the state. Nomination forms are available to download on the League’s website at www.preservenys.org.

The 2008 Excellence Award recipients were: Webb Lofts in Buffalo, Erie County- MacNaughton House Stabilization in Newcomb, Essex County- U.S. Post Office & Courthouse, Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, Kings County- Downtown Revitalization Program in Canajoharie, Montgomery County- Eldridge Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side, New York County- Proctors in Schenectady, Schenectady County- Hotel Kirkland in Kingston, Ulster County- and the BID Model Development Block in New Rochelle, Westchester County. Preserving New York: Winning the Right to Protect a City’s Landmarks by Anthony C. Wood (Routledge, 2007) received a special citation. The Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors was honored for organizational excellence- and Trude Brown Fitelson of Rochester was honored for individual excellence.

For nomination forms and other information please contact the Preservation League office at 518-462-5658 x17- or by email at awards@preservenys.org.

The Preservation League of New York State, founded in 1974, is the not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of New York’s diverse and rich heritage of historic buildings, districts and landscapes. From its headquarters in Albany, the League provides a unified voice for historic preservation. By leading a statewide movement and sharing information and expertise, the Preservation League of New York State promotes historic preservation as a tool to revitalize our neighborhoods and communities, honor our heritage and enrich our lives.