Harris Pushes For Tax Credit Encouraging Homeowners To Pursue Green Projects

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Assemblywoman Pamela Harris. (Photo: Pamela Harris State Assembly 46th District / Facebook)

Assemblywoman Pamela Harris. (Photo: Pamela Harris State Assembly 46th District / Facebook)

Assemblywoman Pamela Harris has introduced a bill that would allow homeowners to reap the rewards of outfitting their homes with green infrastructure projects.

Under the legislation, homeowners could claim a tax credit of up to $5,000 by adding measures to manage rainwater and promote sustainability. Examples of green infrastructure include planter boxes, permeable pavements, roofs covered with vegetation, draining water into barrels rather than sewers, gardens that absorb runoff, according to a press release.

The measures are supposed to help protect against climate change and future extreme weather events, like Superstorm Sandy.

“As residents of Coney Island know, our neighborhood is vulnerable to flooding not just during extreme storms like Hurricane Sandy, but during any period of sustained, heavy rain. I am proud to introduce legislation that will make it much more affordable for our neighbors to make the necessary upgrades to their homes and invest in building a stronger community,” Harris said in a statement.

The legislation received praise from GrowNYC’s director of Green Infrastructure Lenny Librizzi.

“Reducing storm water runoff has become a major challenge for most major US cities. By including green infrastructure in our urban landscape through the re-design of rooftops, building rain gardens and planting trees, we are helping to change the way cities approach water management,” he said.

Other elected officials in southern Brooklyn have also supported efforts to encourage homeowners to conserve rainwater. Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz has hosted several rain barrel giveaways in his district.

City Councilman Mark Treyger plans to introduce a council resolution in support of Harris’ legislation.

He said in a press release that its important for officials to encourage resiliency efforts, especially with homeowners facing skyrocketing insurance costs as a result of the new FEMA flood maps.

“Being more conscious of the environment shouldn’t be a financial burden. It might not be a hurricane that drives people away next time, but rather the financial storm known as flood insurance that will soon be mandated by the completion of the new FEMA flood maps,” he said. “Resiliency and affordability must be intertwined; you cannot have one without the other.”