NYS Historic Tax Credits at Risk

Historic Tax Credits have become one of Western New York’s most important tools in improving our local economy while encouraging private investment, promoting small business growth, and keeping tax rates stable. In 2017 alone, more than 50 homeowner and commercial tax projects have been completed in our region, generating over $400,000,000 in total investment, and more than $84,000,000 each in State and Local tax receipts. While the preservation community successfully secured Historic Tax Credits in the Federal tax code, our NYS Historic Tax Credits are at risk. They were not included in the Governor’s Budget and the commercial tax credit are subject to restrictive changes to the federal tax credit.

To make sure that this important economic development and investment driver is secured for current and future projects, two important legislative steps need to be taken: they need to be extended and decoupled. But what does that mean?


As the law stands now the NYS Historic Commercial Properties Tax Credit and NYS Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Tax Credit will sunset on December 31, 2019. While Governor Cuomo extended the tax credits in 2013 and back in April touted that NYS led the nation in the number of completed tax credit revitalization projects, he did not include an extension of the credits in his proposed 2018-2019 Budget. If it is not extended, hundreds of rehabilitation projects will be in jeopardy and this important economic development and investment driver will not be available in the future.


When the NYS Historic Commercial Property Tax Credit was established in 2006, it was done so in conjunction with the Federal commercial tax credit therefore any changes at the Federal level would also apply to the NYS credit. The Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 requires that the credit be taken over 5 years instead of all at once. And because the Federal and NYS credits are currently coupled, that division over 5 years would apply to the state credit as well. Experts estimate that this change may result in a 15% credit value reduction on the Federal credit, a reduction we can assume the NYS Historic Tax Credit would likely see as well. If we can decouple the credits, then the state credit can be taken all at once.

PBN has been working with the Preservation League of New York State our Western New York delegation, including Assemblymembers Sean M. Ryan and Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, and Senators Chris Jacobs and Timothy Kennedy, and with local developers, to advocate for Historic Tax Credits.

The first steps to rectifing these issues have been taken. Assemblymember Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake) and Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) have introduced legislation to extend the NYS Historic Tax Credits until December 31, 2024 and to decouple the state and Federal credits. But this isn’t enough. We need to urge the Assembly and Senate to include the language from these measures in Joint Legislative Budget Bills which will be drafted in March.

Wondering how you can help? Contact your Assemblymember and Senator TODAY to let them know that you want NYS Historic Tax Credits to stay and urge them to include them in the Budget Bills. You can contact them directly or use our online advocacy tool below to email them now! Every message counts and will help to ensure that this vital program continues.