Friday, March 13, 2009

NYS Industrial Development Agencies and "Green" Building

For 40 years, Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) have been providing financial incentives to businesses locating their facilities throughout NYS. According to the NYS Comptroller's Report for the year 2007, there were 115 active IDAs statewide providing $970 million in tax exemption benefits. By law, each IDA is empowered to recover a portion of such tax exemptions by programs providing for payments in lieu of taxes, commonly known as "PILOT Programs".

Each IDA develops its own tax exemption policy and PILOT Program. Of the $970 million in tax benefits in 2007, $377 million were recovered by PILOT payments. The net tax benefit to businesses totaled $593 million.

Each IDA develops its own guidelines and policies to maximize the ancillary benefits from providing tax exemptions, such as job creation and increased economic activity. IDAs are in a strong position to require, through their policies and programs, "green" development and building practices in exchange for a business receiving IDA benefits.

The Onondaga County IDA provides one example of "green" initiative by giving a "Green Building PILOT Credit" to encourage the construction of sustainable buildings. The credit is available by meeting the IDAs' Tax Exemption Policy, and by construction that is LEED certified. The basic credit is a percentage of hard construction costs ranging from 4.8% (LEED Certified) to 15.6% (LEED Platinum). Projects where 75% of the work is performed by workers located within 200 miles of Onondaga County qualify for an increase of 20% in the basic credit (Local Contractor's Incentive).

IDAs are in a uniquely strong position to accomplish substantial economic, social and environmental gains for their communities. It is a sound proposition to require sustainable development and construction when the financial benefits in return, in the form of tax exemptions, are so substantial. All IDAs should explore incorporating responsible "green" requirements in their policies and programs.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog, In this website they said that IDAs encouraging the Sustainable building and should explore incorporating responsible "Green" requirements in their policies and programs.

    Green building is a concept idea incorporating a wide spectrum of solutions and best-practices. Though green building is interpreted in many different ways, a common opinionis that they should be designed and operated to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by: (1)Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources , (2)Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity (3)Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation.




Being a land use attorney brings a unique perspective to the many interests at play in the making of land use decisions. In the course of any application, you encounter public policy and private property issues that require both advocacy and compromise in hopefully attaining the goals of your client while serving the common good.

Recently, I have been immersed in issues involving "green building" and sustainable development. I have researched the "legislating" of "green building", familiarized myself with "LEED" and other "green building" certification models, and studied the science of environmental impacts on commercial, industrial and residential development to gain an overview of what might be accomplished by bringing concepts of sustainable development to the forefront in our planning processes.

My goal with this blog is to create a dialogue between towns, villages, cities, their planning boards and ZBA's, counties, developers, engineers, designers, surveyors, attorneys, IDA's, empire zones, building associations, and the like, in order to set a course in which "green building" and sustainable development become primary in the decisionmaking on all land use matters. This is a "from the ground up" endeavor. Let's make things happen!

Jay R. Myrow