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Thiele, LaValle Tout New Tax Break for Green Building

Under their new law, local governments may establish a property tax exemption on energy efficient and environmentally friendly construction.

Municipalities across New York State will have the option starting next year to give property owners and builders a tax break for meeting a high bar when it comes to "green" building standards.

The tax break lasts up to 10 years — depending on which level of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification the construction meets — starting at 100 percent in the first year and falling over time to 20 percent.

State Sen. Kenneth P. LaValle and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. touted the legislation Monday at Stony Brook Southampton and unveiled a model local law.

Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said Monday that she will introduce legislation to the Southampton Town Board, and Suffolk County Legislators Ed Romaine and Jay Schneiderman said they would do so on the county level.

LaValle was the primary sponsor in the Senate, where it was adopted 59-0, and Thiele was the primary sponsor in the Assembly, where the vote was 140-0. Gov. Cuomo signed the legislation into law July 18.

In a joint statement, Thiele and LaValle said, "Not only will this legislation
reduce energy demand, it will promote economic development by encouraging
new construction that meets green building standards. This bill will make a
real difference in encouraging green construction for both homes and
businesses. These incentives will encourage the use of the highest level of
energy design in new construction."

The legislation only effects buildings constructed after Jan. 1, 2013, that meet LEED standards, or commensurate standards by the Green Building Initiative's Green Globes rating system and the American National Standards Institute. The cost of construction must exceed $10,000 and have a valid building permit. LaValle's office notes that ordinary maintenance and repairs are not eligible for the exemption, and local governments may establish a maximum exemption amount.

The law does not mandate that any village, town, county or school district offer the tax break — but it does give them the option.

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