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Schumer, Clinton Secure Renewal Community Expansion That Makes More Of Rochester Eligible For Special Tax Breaks

HUD Renewal Community designation will help local efforts to attract new investment and jobs to Rochester with tax incentives worth an estimated $400 million

US Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton announced today that legislation to increase the size of New Yorks Renewal Communities was passed by a joint HouseSenate Conference Committee for the JOBS Bill. The move could dramatically increase the area included in the Rochester renewal community, providing important tax incentives and development initiatives worth an estimated $400 million to New Yorkers and New York businesses. The amendment, which was included as part of the JOBS Bill, changes the boundaries for Renewal Community eligibility to reflect population and poverty rate data from the 2000 Census rather than the 1990 Census, in some cases more than doubling the size of the existing Renewal Community areas. The bill, which was approved by the Joint HouseSenate Conference Committee, is expected to be approved by both Houses of Congress in the coming days. It will then be sent to the President for his signature.

This is great news. At a time when the economy is uncertain, this designation is going to be a real shot in the arm for the region, Senator Schumer said. Washington is always being accused of not paying enough attention to Upstate New York. But today, the tax credits and benefits that have been used to lure businesses to Rochester are closer to helping even more local neighborhoods. This would invite more and more businesses to think seriously about coming to Schenectady, which is just what the doctor ordered.

When I hear from mayors and elected officials across the state, it is clear that these changes are urgently needed, said Senator Clinton, who hosted a statewide Renewal Community symposium in Schenectady earlier this year. The Renewal Community program brings with it a wide range of significant economic development and tax incentives for businesses, but its positive effects can be felt way beyond the immediate area of designation. This is great step towards ensuring that all corners of New York State benefit from progress and prosperity. These renewal community benefits are designed to stem the half century loss of population and jobs from upstate NY by creating jobs and stimulating new business investment.

The language included in the JOBS bill last night enables the Department of Housing and Urban Development to; Expand the area of a Renewal Community to include any area that now meets the population or poverty rate requirement based on 2000 Census data; Add an adjacent area that meets all requirements except the population requirement.

This legislation would make it possible based on 2000 Census data for Renewal Communities in Buffalo/Lackawanna, Jamestown, Niagara Falls, Rochester and Schenectady to dramatically increase their designated Renewal Community zones and provide substantive benefits in more areas. For example: Buffalo/Lackawanna could be increased from 23 census tracts to over 65 census tracts Jamestown could double in size from 2 to 4 census tracts of the city Niagara Falls could triple from 3 to 9 census tracts Rochester could add 9 census tracts Schenectady could more than triple in its number of census tracts from 3 to 13

The Senators have long pushed to allow the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to designate additional areas within New York as Renewal Communities and use the most recent census data available to calculate eligibility. The Renewal Communities program provides incentives to 40 areas nationwide that are in need of economic redevelopment. These areas receive tax credits such as work opportunity tax credits and welfaretowork tax credits, as well as tax deductions (on property, revitalization and cleanup costs) for companies located within qualifying census tracts and employing residents of those tracts.

Key incentives aimed at spurring investment in Renewal Communities include: Zero capital gains on the rate of sales of certain assets held for more than five years. Increased small business expensing (up to an additional $35,000). 15% employment wage credit (first $10,000 in annual income for each worker). Commercial revitalization deductions for taxpayers who revitalize buildings in a Renewal Community.