Brownfields Tax Credit Program Extended 5 Years
Developers, not-for-profits, commercial property owners, and others conducting environmental remediation projects can rely on the state’s Brownfields tax credit – finally. The budget signed by the Governor Friday extends the credit for five years, quelling worries that the credit would expire at the end of this year.
The program, which incentivizes commercial redevelopment in economically distressed areas (EDAs) by providing a rebate on environmental cleanups to Eligible Persons (who did not cause the contamination), has been a resounding success since it was initially passed in 1998. Hundreds of properties have been cleaned up to Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) standards, spurring thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars of new tax revenue.
One of the few criticisms of the program over the years has been the fact that its very existence seems perpetually in doubt. The program when originally created had a sunset provision, meaning cleanups had to begin within three years. The program was extended in 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2010, each time offering a reprieve. The 5-year extension just included in the budget offers the certainty that was previously lacking – meaning the program will function in its intended role as an incentive, as developers can begin projects knowing that the credit will be available when the project ends. The extension means cleanups must begin by 8/5/18 and be completed by 12/31/18.
Cooperstown Environmental LLC President James T. Curtis, P.E., LSP, an acknowledged authority on the Brownfields Tax Credit program, stated, “This tax credit program is a proven success both in spurring economic development in areas where it is most needed, as well as incenting innocent parties to conduct environmental cleanups. These cleanups benefit society by improving the health and well-being of the environment and have real benefits to Massachusetts citizens. We salute the legislators who championed the extension.”
The Department of Revenue (DOR), which implements the program, earlier this year proposed changes intended to limit the financial impact of the program. Those changes are currently being finalized.