Establishes a gift for preserving religious landmarks option on state income tax returns; establishes the "preserving religious landmarks fund" into which all revenue from such gifts shall be deposited; monies shall be used to provide annual grants to religious organizations which occupy and use a historic, inner-city house of worship, for the preservation of such houses of worship.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the tax law, in relation to establishing a gift for preserving religious landmarks on personal income tax forms; to amend the state finance law, in relation to establishing the preserving religious landmarks fund; and to amend the parks, recreation and historic preservation law, in relation to establishing a grant program to preserve inner-city houses of worship
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this legislation is to create a tax check off option for a gift to preserve religious landmark buildings and to establish a grant program to help maintain these prominent fixtures in the communities.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section one adds a new section 629-a to the tax law to create the tax check off box to enable contributions to preserve religious landmarks.
Section two adds a new section 95-h to the state finance law establishing the preserving religious landmarks fund.
Section three adds a new section 14.11 to the parks, recreation, and historic preservation law to establish the preservation of religious landmarks grants.
Section four is the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Thousands of historic urban houses of worship across the nation churches, synagogues, temples and mosques - are threatened by years of deferred maintenance, financial disinvestment and, in rare instances, soaring real estate values that make selling the property an attractive proposition for shrinking congregations. Abandoning these buildings would mean losing an irretrievable part of the nation's cultural heritage that extends from before the Revolutionary War to the modern Civil Rights Movement.
* The average inner-city congregation faces repairs in the range of $1 million to $2 million, an amount that greatly exceeds its fundraising capacity;
* Fully 20% of all historic urban houses of worship in cities are expected to suffer partial collapse or Worse in the next five years;
* These historic sacred places are not sustainable without a major infusion of capital.
These landmark religious houses of worship have established themselves as prominent fixtures in our communities. These places do more than protect historic past - they also provide critical community services to a population that extends far beyond their Congregations. They provide roof for valuable community services such as senior citizen assistance programs, homeless assistance programs, English language learners adult education, youth, teen activities and education. Though there is a growing public understanding of the critical roles that faith-based organizations play in the cultural and social fabric, these groups will be unable to offer social services and safe havens to people in the state's most impoverished neighborhoods if their buildings collapse piece by piece or in wholesale demolitions. Many current grant programs do not allow religious landmarks to apply for them. This bill would add an important program that would help to save some decaying historical religious landmarks that lack funding from other sources.
In addition, economic data from other states with similar tax benefits for such programs, indicate that such programs accomplish significant economic development and historic preservation benefits simultaneously. Rehabilitation spending will stimulate construction activity and job creation and has been proven to outperform the economic benefits of new construction in local and regional economies.
This bill will give residents of this state the voluntary ability to support these religious landmarks that are so essential to their communities.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011: S.63-Defeated in Investigations and Government Operations/A.4831 - Referred to Ways and Means 2009-10: S.3128A - Reported and Committed to Finance/A.5056A Reported to Ways and Means 2007-08: S.760 - Referred to Investigations and Government Operations/A.6742 - Referred to Ways and Means 2005-06: S.5372 - Referred to Investigations and Government Operations/A.8240 - Referred to Ways and Means
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 63--A 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. DIAZ -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern- ment Operations -- recommitted to the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the tax law, in relation to establishing a gift for preserving religious landmarks on personal income tax forms; to amend the state finance law, in relation to establishing the preserving religious landmarks fund; and to amend the parks, recreation and historic preservation law, in relation to establishing a grant program to preserve inner-city houses of worship THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The tax law is amended by adding a new section 629-a to read as follows: S 629-A. GIFT FOR PRESERVING RELIGIOUS LANDMARKS. EFFECTIVE FOR ANY TAX YEAR COMMENCING ON OR AFTER JANUARY FIRST, TWO THOUSAND TWELVE, AN INDIVIDUAL IN ANY TAXABLE YEAR MAY ELECT TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE PRESERVING RELIGIOUS LANDMARKS FUND. SUCH CONTRIBUTION SHALL BE IN ANY WHOLE DOLLAR AMOUNT AND SHALL NOT REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF STATE TAX OWED BY SUCH INDI- VIDUAL. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL INCLUDE SPACE ON THE PERSONAL INCOME TAX RETURN TO ENABLE A TAXPAYER TO MAKE SUCH CONTRIBUTION. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, ALL REVENUE COLLECTED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL BE CREDITED TO THE PRESERVING RELIGIOUS LANDMARKS FUND AND USED ONLY FOR THOSE PURPOSES ENUMERATED IN SECTION NINETY-FIVE-H OF THE STATE FINANCE LAW. S 2. The state finance law is amended by adding a new section 95-h to read as follows:EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00040-02-1 S. 63--A 2
S 95-H. PRESERVING RELIGIOUS LANDMARKS FUND. 1. THERE IS HEREBY ESTAB- LISHED IN THE JOINT CUSTODY OF THE COMMISSIONER OF TAXATION AND FINANCE AND THE STATE COMPTROLLER, A SPECIAL FUND TO BE KNOWN AS THE "PRESERVING RELIGIOUS LANDMARKS FUND". 2. SUCH FUND SHALL CONSIST OF ALL REVENUES RECEIVED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION SIX HUNDRED TWENTY-NINE-A OF THE TAX LAW, ALL REVENUES RECEIVED PURSUANT TO APPROPRIATIONS BY THE LEGISLATURE, AND ALL MONEYS APPROPRIATED, CREDITED OR TRANSFERRED THERETO FROM ANY OTHER FUND OR SOURCE PURSUANT TO LAW. NO MONEYS CREDITED TO SUCH FUND PURSUANT TO SECTION SIX HUNDRED TWENTY-NINE-A OF THE TAX LAW SHALL BE DEEMED TO AUTHORIZE THE REDUCTION OF THE AMOUNT OF MONIES OTHERWISE APPROPRIATED TO THE OFFICE OF PARKS, RECREATION AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION. 3. THE MONIES OF THE FUND SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE OFFICE OF PARKS, RECREATION AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING GRANTS TO RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS FOR THE PRESERVATION OF INNER-CITY HOUSES OF WORSHIP USED AND OCCUPIED BY SUCH ORGANIZATIONS PURSUANT TO SECTION 14.11 OF THE PARKS, RECREATION AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION LAW. 4. THE MONIES OF THE FUND SHALL BE PAID OUT ON THE AUDIT AND WARRANT OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER ON VOUCHERS CERTIFIED OR APPROVED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF PARKS, RECREATION AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION, OR BY AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE OFFICE OF PARKS, RECREATION AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION DESIGNATED BY SUCH COMMISSIONER. S 3. The parks, recreation and historic preservation law is amended by adding a new section 14.11 to read as follows: S 14.11 PRESERVATION OF RELIGIOUS LANDMARKS GRANTS. THE OFFICE SHALL DEVELOP, ESTABLISH AND IMPLEMENT A PROGRAM WHICH PROVIDES ANNUAL GRANTS TO RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS OCCUPYING AND UTILIZING HISTORIC, INNER-CITY HOUSES OF WORSHIP, WHICH ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER OR STATE REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES. SUCH GRANTS SHALL BE USED TO RESTORE, REHABILITATE AND PRESERVE SUCH HOUSES OF WORSHIP WHICH SERVE AS IMPOR- TANT ICONS TO THE COMMUNITIES IN WHICH THEY ARE LOCATED. S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.