2008 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lennysiegel@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 2008 12:06:11 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: [CPEO-BIF] Editorial: "Reform [New York] Brownfields Law"
[I remember a New York official making a presentation before a large 
group of people from other states, soon after the New York brownfields 
law passed. He finished with, "Any questions?" A friend of mine raised 
his hand and asked, "How do I become a developer in New York"? - LS]

Reform brownfields law

Albany Times Union (NY)
March 28, 2008

Five years ago, state lawmakers passed a brownfields law with the best 
of intentions -- namely, to encourage developers to build on 
contaminated sites throughout New York, particularly in urban and 
upstate areas, and bring jobs and economic stimulus to local economies. 
At least that's how it was supposed to work. Instead, the program has 
become a bonanza for a few wealthy developers. A relatively few 
brownfields projects, almost all downstate, have qualified for a 
staggering $1 billion in state tax credits. Meanwhile, upstate has been 
largely ignored.

It's easy to see why. The program all but invites developers to build in 
expensive areas, while spending the least amount of money on cleaning up 
brownfield sites and as much as possible on the projects themselves.

For example, if a developer spends, say, $1 million to clean up a 
brownfield site and then builds a $300 million office tower on it, the 
tax credit is based on $301 million. Thus, the less spent on cleanup, 
the more tax credit available for the project itself. If a developer 
doesn't have a high enough income to use all of the tax credit 
immediately, the state will send him a check for the difference, rather 
than apply the credit over future earning years.


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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