Legislation To Establish Steuben County Tax Abatement Program Signed Into Law

O’Mara, Palmesano sponsor bill at county’s request
August 22, 2012

Corning, N.Y., August 22—Legislation sponsored by State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C-Corning) to establish a real property tax abatement program in Steuben County has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

O’Mara and Palmesano introduced the legislation (S.7424/A.10107, Chapter 394 of the Laws of 2012) at the request of Steuben County officials who believe that the new program will help spur investment and revitalization of commercial and residential properties in the cities of Corning and Hornell, as well as other localities. Cities, towns and villages throughout Steuben County can participate in the program at their option.

“We agreed with county leaders that a tax abatement program will prove successful in Steuben County and spark reinvestments, repairs and renovations to residences and commercial properties in Corning, Hornell and other municipalities. We’re grateful for opportunities like this to work with local officials to achieve our common goals of revitalizing and strengthening the communities we represent.”

Local leaders agreed.

City of Corning Mayor Richard Negri said, “I’m pleased to see the Governor signed this special legislation approved by the State Legislature. I appreciate the willingness of Senator O’Mara and Assemblyman Palmesano to keep advancing this special legislation. They fought hard on our behalf.”

City of Hornell Mayor Shawn D. Hogan said, "I would like to thank Senator O’Mara and Assemblyman Palmesano for sponsoring the legislation that was recently signed by the Governor that will even the playing field for communities in Steuben County who are actively engaged in promoting downtown revitalization. This commercial-residential tax abatement program for rehabilitating downtown properties will go a long way in promoting smart economic development in our communities. It will be a tremendous tool and a welcome addition to our joint efforts in revitalizing our communities."

Steuben County Administrator Mark Alger added, “The tax abatement program sponsored by Senator O’Mara and Assemblyman Palmesano provides residential and commercial property owners in Steuben County valuable incentives to renovate facilities. The program directly enhances development efforts in the County, and we encourage our municipalities to promote its use.”

Corning City Manager Mark L. Ryckman said, “After several years of trying, it is great to see this incentive finally becoming a reality. It will provide us with another excellent tool to encourage property improvements in our area.”

Tax abatements are a proven technique for local governments to attract investors and encourage the revitalization of residential and commercial properties alike. It’s seen by the state as a no-cost, mandate-free way to allow local governments to invest in and attract outside investment in their communities.

Under a tax abatement program, renovated properties are exempt from real property tax increases and special ad valorem levies for 12 years on a sliding-scale basis. For the first eight years, eligible properties receive a 100% exemption, which decreases to 20% by the twelfth year.

A tax abatement differs from a strict tax exemption in that a tax exemption takes away existing revenue generated by a property, while a tax abatement does not change existing tax payments. With tax abatements, governments agree to take less than 100% of new revenue generated through property investments, repairs and renovations.

The Steuben County tax abatement program is patterned after a similar program adopted for Livingston County in 2011, which has proven successful.