New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would have extended the state’s current Brownfield tax credit program that gives developers remediation and tax credits to clean up polluted sites. Under the original program, anyone seeking a Brownfield tax credit must obtain a certificate of completion documenting a finished cleanup by December 31, 2015. The deadline would be nearly impossible for most eligible parties to meet.
Cuomo’s extension will push the deadline to December 31, 2017 conditional on upon a number of eligibility changes and reforms. The new changes will affect sites that have been accepted and approved after April 1, 2015 including those who will miss the new extended deadline. The new budget proposal will restrict eligibility of sites where contamination exceeds applicable soil cleanup and environmental standards based on the anticipated future of the property. Some other changes the extension will provide will include: a provision for additional tax credits for certain projects, a “fast track” option, changes to tax credit time frames and expanded exemption from hazardous waste fees.
Governor Cuomo is hoping the possibility that the tax credits will expire will serve as motivation for future long term reform. In the veto, Cuomo mentioned he would reintroduce a proposal to substantially reform the program this year. It remains to be seen whether the Cuomo Administration modifies last year’s proposal to provide less uncertainty and greater access to the redevelopment credit. The guarantee is that there will be a great deal of attention focused on the New York Brownfield Program in 2015.
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