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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is to be praised for proposing an amendment to his 2013 budget plan that would extend the tax credit for owner-occupied historic homes for five years. Cuomo earlier proposed extending and enhancing the state’s tax credit for rehabilitating historic commercial properties.

The State Legislature must now act to support the proposal, by committing to include both programs in the final budget agreement. Without that action, both programs will expire at the end of 2014.

New economic development in New York, job creation and a revitalized tax base will more than make up for state monies paid out in tax credits.

The governor’s proposal to make the commercial credit refundable is a significant advance for the program, and attracting interest from developers across the country. But as this page said earlier, a further change is needed: the cap on the commercial credits should be raised from $5 million to $12 million, which would allow developers to handle bigger projects, such as the old AM&A’s store on Main Street. Sen. Mark. J. Grisanti, R-Buffalo, is pushing for such an increase.

Homeowners in the newly designated Elmwood West Historic District in Buffalo have begun to take advantage of the homeowner tax credit. Hamlin Park historic homes may be next, pending listing on the State Register later this month. Homeowners in those historic districts need the program extended so they can renew their homes and their neighborhoods.

The possibility of a 2014 sunset puts homeowners in the difficult position of either rushing through a project, if they can manage, or not doing the work at all. That’s no way to revitalize a neighborhood or put contractors to work.

Cuomo’s proposal to extend the historic home tax credit is significant as it represents the first time this economic tool has been a part of a governor’s executive budget proposal. Now, the Legislature has to deliver its support and ensure the continued success of this program.