Schumer calls on the National Park Service to approve historic tax credit applications soon

Feb 20, 2018

Credit WXXI News

Senator Chuck Schumer was in Rochester Tuesday defending the old federal Historic Tax Credit program.

The recent tax bill reduced the value of these credits.

Schumer says major transformation projects like the ones on East Main Street could stall if the federal government fails to approve building applications for the program fast enough.

It’s one reason he didn’t agree with the tax bill.

"I think it was really dumb to get rid of this tax credit. It’s created thousands of jobs in Rochester and hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout America. It made no sense to undo it but they did."

Under the old program, developers of investors who financed a U.S.National Park Service approved project could receive the entire 20% credit the same year the restored building opened. The credit offsets the rehab costs in renovating a historic building. But after the changes, that 20% is spread out over five years.

Larry Francer of the Rochester Historical Society says this program is critical to the redevelopment of East Main Street.

"For economic revival in city neighborhoods we need to honor our historic buildings and find new uses for them."

If projects are approved within a 180-day window, they can still be grandfathered in and use the current historic tax credit system.

Schumer is now calling for the National Park Service to approve two downtown revitalization projects, the Glenny and Edwards buildings, both on East Main Street, as soon as possible.