• Take Action: Historic Tax Credit Reduced by Half in Senate Bill

    November 10, 2017

    Tax reform is moving fast in both the House and Senate and advocates for historic preservation need to weigh in! The most significant federal investment in preservation, the historic tax credit (HTC), is at stake.

    Despite vigorous advocacy by Republicans and Democrats in both chambers, the historic tax credit was not incorporated into the House tax reform bill during the mark-up process. On the Senate side, the Finance Committee acted last night to retain the HTC but reduced it from 20 percent to 10 percent of qualifying rehabilitation expenditures and eliminated entirely the 10 percent credit for non-historic buildings built before 1936.

    This means we need to redouble our efforts to spread the message that the historic tax credit is a program we cannot afford to lose—or weaken. Next week, the House intends to take their bill to the floor for a full vote, while the Finance Committee hopes to mark up its version and get it ready for floor action. We must not miss an opportunity to encourage the full retention of the historic tax credit. Now is our chance. Let’s get to work.

    Join us in calling your members of Congress with the message that the historic tax credit should be restored to its existing, undiminished levels in a reformed tax code.

    As reported this week in newspapers and journals and expressed by advocates like you in all corners of the country, this longstanding preservation incentive works. It serves to revitalize our heritage and stimulate our local economies, while preserving our heritage. Let’s keep the drumbeat going!

  • Act now to retain the Historic Tax Credit in the tax code

    November 2, 2017

    Today the House Ways and Means Committee released a proposed tax reform bill that eliminates the federal historic tax credit (HTC) as part of a sweeping effort to both pay for tax cuts and simplify the tax code.

    Act now to retain the HTC and continue investment in our communities.

    While not unexpected, this policy proposal deals a significant blow to historic preservation. The HTC has a four-decade track record of success in saving our nation's historic buildings, creating over 2.4 million jobs, and actually generating revenue for the U.S. Treasury, returning $1.20 for every taxpayer dollar spent.

    President Ronald Reagan praised the HTC as "economic good sense" by significantly leveraging private sector investment. Developers have completed over 42,000 challenging historic rehabilitation projects using the HTC. Without this powerful incentive, historic rehabilitation across the nation will halt, as will significant reinvestment in our communities.

    Introduction of the House tax reform bill represents the beginning of a difficult legislative process. We will continue to advocate vigorously in support of this vital preservation tool to ensure a critical redevelopment incentive is preserved in the final tax reform bill—but we cannot do it without you.

    Please use our sample message to contact your member of Congress NOW to help save the historic tax credit.

  • Urgent: Retain the Historic Tax Credit

    October 26, 2017

    In 1981, President Ronald Reagan significantly expanded an innovative program to draw investment to the rehabilitation of older properties, now known as the federal historic tax credit. He was so impressed with the program’s success that he made it a permanent part of the tax code in 1986.

    Since that time, the federal historic tax credit has played a critical role in revitalizing small towns and cities, creating jobs, and increasing economic activity, all while returning more tax revenue to the Treasury than it costs.

    In Kansas City, for example, a former train station power house building is now the stunning home of the city’s ballet company. In Baltimore, a long-shuttered brewery was transformed into a social services organization that helps area residents get back on their feet. In Butte, Montana, a grocery store has brought new life to what was a vacant department store.

    Listen to what makes the program so powerful in Reagan’s own words, and then take a minute to urge your lawmaker to continue this important legacy and keep the tax credit in any reform of the tax code.

    Republican lawmakers are close to finalizing tax reform legislation, but an outline meant to guide the legislative process failed to retain the historic tax credit. Please help us ensure that today’s tax writers appreciate the value of the federal historic tax credit to the future of our country—that it helps preserve and enhances the treasures of our past, while promoting economic growth and a higher quality of life for all.

  • Rutgers 2016 Annual Report Proves Historic Tax Credits More Than Pay for Themselves

    October 16, 2017

    New research recently released by Rutgers University, with support from the National Park Service and NTCIC (the National Trust’s for-profit subsidiary), is relevant to what might be thought of as a strange mix of bedfellows: history buffs, millennials, and tax credit advocates on Capitol Hill. To show where these identities collide, let’s start with a story about the Coke Building in Paducah, Kentucky.

    Paducah Coca Cola Company Exterior

    photo by: Chuck Fisher, National Park Service

    Paducah, Kentucky, Coke Bottling Plant

    A Coca-Cola bottling plant, once owned and operated by a local family business founded in 1903, had sat vacant since 2005 in Paducah’s Midtown neighborhood. Its beautiful architecture caught the eye of Ed and Meagan Musselman, of Musselman Properties. Together with a skilled general contractor and a supportive city partner, the Musselmans finished a faithful restoration of the Coke Plant’s exterior facade and distinctive copper dome in 2016. The interior was reconfigured to serve restaurants, bars, offices a yoga studio, and more. Meanwhile, the building’s lobby was fully restored and features a Coca-Cola logo in its terrazzo floor, a cantilevered terrazzo stairway, and a hemispherical domed ceiling 45 tall and 30 feet in diameter.

    Upon its reopening in 2016, the Coke Plant now houses a diverse array of businesses, including a pizza restaurant, brewery, coffee shop, yoga studio, local artist collective, and office space for a marketing and web design firm. Federal historic tax credits (HTC) were critical to making the conversion of the Coke Plant possible, bridging the gap between what loans could be attained and what the rehabilitation would cost. Without about $1 million in federal and state historic tax credits, the project would not have provided enough of a return on investment for the developer to proceed.

    The broad strokes of this story—a once-proud icon of local history suffering from becoming obsolete or neglect finds a new, modern relevance through a tax credit-enabled rehabilitation—has played out in cities and towns across the country since the HTC’s inception. This type of activity is on the upswing nationwide, and it has tremendous cumulative economic impact—proven in the recently released Annual Report on the Economic Impact of the Federal Historic Tax Credit for Fiscal Year 2016. The report shows that 2016 was a record year for the use of the federal historic tax credit and the national economic impact it generates.

    Historic Tax Credits: By the Numbers

    • Rehabilitation of 1,039 buildings was made possible by $1.2 billion in tax credits in 2016.
    • HTC generated 109,00 jobs and $1.7 billion in federal state and local taxes.
    • Annual activity level increased nearly one third (32 percent) over last year’s program activity
    • 2016 represents the largest year over year increase since 1986.
    • Between 1978 and 2016 (the life of the HTC program), tax credit projects rehabilitated 42,293 buildings, created 2.4 million jobs, and generated $29.8 billion in federal taxes, which exceeds the $25.2 billion in credits allocated by the U.S. Treasury.
    • Most of the revenue to the Treasury stemming from HTC-enabled projects comes from federal payroll taxes, paid by construction workers and manufacturing workers that produce construction materials. Most of the revenue is received by the Treasury before it pays out the tax credits at the end of the project—making it a relatively safe taxpayer investment.

    These statistics demonstrate that the HTC more than pays for itself and that most of the revenue is received prior to the allocation of the credits at project completion, which is a powerful argument as the Congressional tax reform effort ramps up on Capitol Hill—a process that is expected to intensify this summer.

    Both the Millennial and Baby Boomer generations are driving much of the growing demand for historic tax credits, and they can agree on at least one thing: they want to live, work, and play in authentic downtown historic residential and commercial spaces.

    It should not be lost that even with these favorable demographic and real estate market trends, developers consistently report that they still need the HTC to make these projects financially possible, given banks’ concerns about financing a project that carries the risks inherent in a historic rehabilitation—mostly, the unforeseen and sometimes costly quirks hidden within the walls of our nation’s historic churches, warehouses, theaters, department stores, schools, and more. Yet it is precisely these quirks that make spending time in places like the Coke Plant—or any of the other thousands of buildings that have been rehabilitated with the federal historic tax credit—so satisfying.

    Dig deeper into the numbers in the Rutgers Report on Preservation Leadership Forum, and learn how you can help protect and enhance them on our Historic Tax Credit page.

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