ALBANY – The State Senate sponsor of legislation to kick-start historic rehabilitation projects says he is comfortable with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s explanation for vetoing the measure and the governor’s vow to re-examine the issue in next year’s budget.
“I’m happy to hear it’s something they want to look at,” said Sen. Mark Grisanti, a Buffalo Republican. “It’s not a dead deal, but it’s something the Governor’s Office is going to look at and do something in the budget. At what amount and what time period, I’m not sure, but it’s something we’ll continue moving forward on to get passed.”
The legislation, passed in June, would raise the current $5 million tax credit available for certain historic property rehabilitations to $12 million. But the Cuomo administration said the measure would cost $20 million in the coming year and $80 million over the following two years.
A Cuomo official Wednesday said the governor was supportive of the concept but did not want to approve legislation with a fiscal impact on the state outside of the regular budget process that occurs in the spring.
Even the most vocal backer of the bill, who also happens to be a Cuomo fundraiser, was not critical of the governor’s veto.
“My understanding is they will include it in next year’s budget, so there’s a bright light there,” said Rocco Termini, a Buffalo developer who has used the state tax credits on project such as his Hotel @ the Lafayette.
Termini said he believes the governor, in his budget plan due out next month, will offer a more comprehensive bill that extends the current tax credit program beyond its 2014 expiration date and possibly allow further tweaks to a provision that now makes developers “buy” both federal and state tax credits to qualify. Such changes, he said, would make more projects eligible for state tax credits.
Also, Termini said he would back any effort to further target the credits to certain distressed areas of the state. “It might be a good idea to target it because there are certain areas of the state that don’t need it,” he said.
Termini earlier this fall shelved plans for a $60 million rehabilitation of the AM&A’s building in downtown Buffalo because Cuomo had not yet signed the tax credit bill.
“It might be a little delay, but I think it’s a win-win for everybody,” Termini said of Cuomo’s veto.
“Municipal officials and developers should not be focused on the impending veto, but on the commitment from Gov. Cuomo to address increased incentives and other needed program enhancements in 2013,” said Daniel Mackay, director of public policy at the Preservation League of New York State.
“Higher incentives for large projects, extension of the program past its current sunset in 2014, and providing greater access to the program for New York State investors will assure that this program moves to the top tier of effective economic development and job growth programs in New York State,” Mackay said.