Cuomo Tax Commission: Cleanup Program Eats Up 1/3 of NY Tax Credits
Statement by Katherine Nadeau, Policy Director
“The state’s brownfields cleanup program is off target and out of control. With a new report from his tax reform commission confirming Environmental Advocates’ concerns, we urge Governor Cuomo to make overhauling this program a priority in his 2014-2015 budget.
The Governor’s commission report indicates that nearly one-third of all state tax credits in 2013 were funneled to only a few developers through this program. In the last ten years, New York has cut checks totaling more than $1 billion to clean up just 133 contaminated sites. In fact, two projects cited in the commission’s report alone cost more than the entire program’s initial projected annual costs. One site has reported zero remediation cost – the other was on track for development whether this credit existed or not.
This is not how the brownfields cleanup program was intended; it was meant to help communities statewide remediate the dangers of local contaminate sites, foster development and place blighted properties back on the tax rolls. Instead, this program has become one of the costliest giveaways in state history and is overwhelmingly benefiting economically thriving areas like New York City and Westchester County.
People are rightfully outraged when they learn how these refundable tax credits have been spent. Only those with a vested interest in its dysfunction would attempt to block Governor Cuomo from broad reform that directs incentives to distressed communities where developers are reluctant to undertake brownfield cleanups. Environmental Advocates believes the Governor should lead in overhauling the problems that he inherited.”