Developers will find it easier to restore historic buildings, and it will be cheaper to make movies in Western New York under changes expected in tax-credit legislation.
The two pieces of legislation appear headed for enactment in the final state budget.
The historic-building tax credit, which will expire in 2020, will give developers more certainty for commercial and residential projects being planned or under way. It also makes changes to allow more private-sector investors, including out-of-state syndicates, to invest in historic rehabilitation projects.
“Buffalo has uniquely positioned itself to take advantage of these enhancements. Local advocates and neighborhood groups have undertaken aggressive survey work to add over 3,700 properties to the state and national register in the last few years, and most if not all of these properties qualify for these credits,” said Daniel Mackay, director of public policy for the Preservation League of New York State, a major advocate for the tax-credit extension.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last year vetoed a measure that would have increased the tax-credit cap for preserving buildings from $5 million to $12 million, legislation that was introduced by State Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, and promoted by Buffalo downtown developer Rocco Termini.
“The extension and expansion of this tax credit leverages private investment, gives developers more certainty and helps maintain the history and heritage of our communities,” said Richard Azzopardi, a Cuomo spokesman. “These are critically important ingredients to spurring growth and strengthening our economy in Western New York and across this state.”
The five-year tax incentive for film production will create a two-tiered system that makes an additional 10 percent credit available to upstate and Western New York beyond the present 30 percent credit for certain production costs.
It will bring the total available credit to 40 percent of labor costs and is modeled after legislation introduced by State Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan, R-Elma. He had proposed a four-tiered system, with Buffalo getting a 45 percent tax credit, but said what will be approved will be an enormous boon for filmmaking upstate and in Western New York.
Tim Clark, commissioner of the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission, said the legislation will help Western New York overcome the lower labor costs for making movies outside the region, since high-skilled labor must often be brought in from New York City.
Clark said he believed Buffalo’s recent loss of the film “Draft Day” to Cleveland because of better financial incentives was a factor in getting the legislation through.