Proposed Legislation Will Determine if Future is Bleak or Bright for Preservation

The financial viability of most commercial and multi-family historic rehabilitation projects depends upon the Federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC). But tax overhaul proposals under consideration in Washington D.C. could wipe out the HTC, and stop new historic rehabilitation projects in their tracks.

The preservation community has decided to play both offense AND defense via the introduction of the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act which was introduced on February 16th  in both the House of Representatives (HR-1158) and the Senate (S-425).  Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer introduced the House bill with bipartisan support from 18 co-sponsors. 

The Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act makes long overdue changes to the HTC to further encourage building reuse and redevelopment in small, midsize and rural communities. It would:

  • increase the tax credit from 20 percent to 30 percent for projects with rehabilitation expenses of less than $2.5 million.
  • simplify the application process for small developers by allowing a one-time transfer of the credits as a tax certificate.
  • loosen requirements for passing the substantial rehabilitation test.
  • create greater flexibility for nonprofit organizations to partner with developers in redevelopment projects.

The Historic Tax Credit is no pork barrel giveaway.  Nationwide over the life of the program, the HTC has:

  • restored more than 41,270 buildings that form the historic fabric of our nation.
  • created more than 2.3 million good-paying, local jobs.
  • leveraged $120.8 billion of private investment money in our communities.
  • made a substantial profit of $1.20-1.25 in tax revenue for every dollar invested ($23.1 billion in tax credits generated more than $28.1billion in federal tax revenue.)

In Oregon, the National Park Service reports that the tax credit has enabled the restoration and reuse of 98 historic properties which have

  • created 11,938 jobs
  • leveraged $735,714,490 in development expenditures
  • generated $159,863,800 in federal, state, and local tax revenues

Restore Oregon is actively partnering with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and with other organizations across the U.S., to retain the Historic Tax Credit and pass the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act. You can help!

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Statewide Partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation