By Tom Precious
ALBANY – Not everyone is upset this morning with Gov. Andrew Cuomo for vetoing a bill to increase tax breaks for historic property rehabilitation projects, a measure developers say would have been a sizeable benefit to downtown Buffalo.
“My understanding is they will include it in next year’s budget, so there’s a bright light there,’’ Rocco Termini, a Buffalo developer, said this morning.
The Buffalo News first reported Cuomo’s intention to veto the bill, quoting an administration official as saying the governor supports the idea but does not generally approve legislation with a fiscal hit on the budget outside of the normal budget-making process in the spring. Administration officials Wednesday said Cuomo will consider addressing the matter in his 2013 budget plan, but did not commit to it as strongly as Termini is suggesting will happen.
Termini had been the most vocal proponent of the legislation, which was sponsored in the Senate by Mark Grisanti, a Buffalo Republican. Termini hosted a fundraiser for Cuomo earlier this year at the Hotel @ the Lafayette, the refurbished project he developed with the assistance of historic tax credits.
Termini said he believes the governor, in his budget plan due out next month, will offer a more comprehensive bill that extends the current tax credit program beyond its 2014 expiration date and possibly allow further tweaks to a provision that now makes developers “buy” both federal and state tax credits to qualify; such changes, he said, would make more projects eligible for state tax credits.
Also, he said he would back any effort to further target the credits to certain distressed areas of the state. “It might be a good idea to target it because there are certain areas of the state that don’t need it,’’ he said.
Termini earlier this fall shelved plans for a $60 million rehabilitation of the AM&A’s Building because Cuomo had not yet signed the tax credit bill, which was passed by lawmakers in June. But on Thursday morning, he was sounding a different theme. “It might be a little delay, but I think it’s a win win for everybody,’’ Termini said of Cuomo’s veto.
UPDATE: Grisanti said this morning he is confident Cuomo will still address the tax credit situation in next year's budget plan. "I'm happy to hear it's something they want to look at. It's not a dead deal, but it's something the governor's office is going to look at and do something in the budget. At what amount and what time period, I'm not sure, but it's something we'll continue moving forward on to get passed,'' he said.