Published in the Syracuse-Post Standard
Thursday, May 28, 2009
By Greg Munno
A long-anticipated program that would help make it viable to restore historic buildings took a big step toward becoming reality on Wednesday.
The state Senate passed the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, a bill that Upstate leaders have been pushing for years.
"This is a game changer," said Robert Simpson, president of the Metropolitan Development Association, which has advocated for the credit for five years.
Simpson said the bill, which the Assembly is expected to take up in June, will help bridge the gap between the cost of rehabilitating historic buildings in places such as Syracuse, and the market-value of the properties. He also said it would give New York projects a better shot at winning federal Historic Tax Credits.
Simpson credited Sen. David Valesky, D-Oneida, for taking a lead in pushing for the legislation.
Gov. David Paterson vetoed a similar bill last year. But Valesky's office said Wednesday that the bill just passed was more robust, had broader support and was more likely to become law than the previous version.