This bill would authorize the City of New York to provide an abatement of real property taxes for the construction, alteration or improvement of industrial or commercial properties in New York City. Such improvement must meet a minimum required expenditure of at least thirty percent of the property's assessed value, with an additional abatement for industrial properties where such properties meet a forty percent test. This program would replace the existing Industrial and Commercial Incentive Program (ICIP) which will sunset on June 30, 2008.
This legislation would exclude utilities from the benefits offered through this program, prospectively eliminating the eligibility of utility companies to receive property tax exemptions that they have been eligible for since 1984. These exemptions, received under the ICIP program for qualifying improvements, have translated into a direct savings to residential and commercial energy users while encouraging critical upgrades in infrastructure.
Con Edison, a member of the Business Council, has passed on over $105 million in savings to consumers through the ICIP, and future benefits of approved projects are anticipated to save consumers nearly $700 million. The elimination of eligibility will translate into an increase in cost paid by the consumers, while removing a valuable and effective tool to encourage infrastructure investment. In a precarious economic climate, and soaring oil and gas prices, any proposal that increases costs to consumers and further disadvantages investment is ill-advised. For these reasons, the Business Council opposes the passage of this legislation.