Proposed tax credit for development nonprofits would boost Pa. waterfronts
Pittsburgh's waterfronts have come a long way since 1999, when the Riverlife Task Force laid plans to revitalize the shorelines.
About $130 million worth of investment in the city's riverfronts has resulted in $4 billion worth of adjacent development, including sports complexes and corporate office buildings, hotels and residents, said Jay Sukernek, Riverlife's chief financial officer.
“What this means is that, for every dollar invested directly in riverfront projects, there has been approximately $30 of investment adjacent to the rivers,” Sukernek said.
Legislation by Sen. Randy Vulakovich, R-Shaler, looks to boost this kind of development statewide, establishing a $10 million tax credit for developers who donate to waterfront development nonprofits such as Riverlife.
At a hearing in Pittsburgh on Friday, Vulakovich said that although the credit means less revenue to the state, the investments would add value to communities.
“People who donate, who give a lot of money and spur investments, they're not interested in losing money,” he said. “If they donate to things like this, that means there's value in the project.”
The Senate Finance Committee held a two-hour information hearing on the bill at Point Park University, at which Riverlife, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Erie Port Authority spoke in support of the idea.
Waterfronts are lucrative markets, as the past decade or so of Pittsburgh's development shows. But public spaces along these developments — parks, benches, streets, trails, restrooms — are not necessarily included. Developers often see them as “amenities” and not necessary pieces of the project, said Riverlife president Lisa Schroeder.
Under Senate Bill 968, businesses that donate money to waterfront development nonprofits would get a dollar-for-dollar tax credit. Projects would have to “create or improve public access and connections to the waterfront” through public utilities, infrastructure, recreational amenities or environmental investments, such as stormwater management or erosion control.
Ninety-five percent of the contribution must go toward the authorized project; the nonprofit could retain 5 percent for administrative purposes.
If passed as written, the legislation would be a $10 million revenue blow to a stretched state budget. Vulakovich said that figure is a starting point that lawmakers could discuss.
State Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park, said that though the state's eight tax credit programs have produced mixed results, the tax credit would be valuable by stimulating job growth.
“Any tool that we can add to our economic development arsenal is important,” he said.
Melissa Daniels is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Icy water, donations to fight ALS flow with social media’s help
- Pittsburgh eyes plan to resolve impasse over Hill District project on former Civic Arena site
- Judge limits evidence in legal battle over debt-burdened August Wilson Center
- Renowned forensic pathologist Wecht critical of 3rd autopsy in Ferguson death
- Barred Mt. Oliver firefighter turns up in gear at blaze, spurs investigation
- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra makes ‘great strides’ financially, audit shows
- Newsmakers: Natalia E. Morone and Kaleab Z. Abebe
- Peters Township School District settles age, gender discrimination complaint
- Nonprofit intends to restore West End Village tavern
- RiverQuest science education program stays afloat with foundation support
- Newsmaker: Joseph McCamey