Statement | November 17, 2017

National Trust: Senate Finance Committee Amendment on Federal Historic Tax Credit Is Important Victory for Preservation

Statement by Stephanie K. Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The effort to preserve the historic tax credit took a critical step forward in the U.S. Senate Finance Committee last night as tax legislation continues to advance through Congress. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) succeeded in increasing the historic tax credit back to 20 percent from the 10 percent level in the initial Senate proposal when the Finance Committee included his pro-growth amendment in the legislation it approved. The following is a statement from Stephanie K. Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

“The National Trust for Historic Preservation joins our Louisiana partners and advocates nationwide in thanking Senator Cassidy for his leadership on this critical amendment. While we are encouraged by this progress in the Senate, we are deeply disappointed that tax legislation approved by the House on Thursday would repeal the federal Historic Tax Credit and its community revitalizing impacts. For nearly 30 years, the credit has proven its remarkable track record of success and has even been called ‘economic good sense’ by former President Ronald Reagan.

“By spurring public-private investment in the reuse of old and historic buildings, the credit fuels the economic engine that is bringing our downtowns neighborhoods and Main Streets across America back to life. Getting rid of it now would be shortsighted and would threaten the revival that is evident in America’s cities and towns. There should be no pause, no waver--or even the slightest hesitation in safeguarding this vital program.”

Background on Action to Save Historic Tax Credit

Senator Cassidy’s amendment provides: (1) a 20 percent credit for qualified rehabilitation expenditures with respect to a certified historic structure; and (2) that the 20 percent credit be claimed ratably over a five-year period beginning in the taxable year in which a qualified rehabilitated structure is placed in service. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a long-time champion of the historic tax credit, also offered an amendment to restore the historic tax credit during the mark up process. While this amendment was not adopted, it provided an opportunity for other members of the Finance Committee to note their support for the historic tax credit, including Senators Portman (R-OH) and Senator Scott (R-SC).

The bill is expected to be voted on by the full Senate after the Thanksgiving holiday recess. Preservation advocates will be working to address several technical amendments to ensure the full financial value of the existing credit is restored during the next stages of the legislative process.

Before final passage of the tax bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) of the House Ways and Means Committee indicated his willingness to continue working with members of Congress to restore the historic tax credit in final legislation. Preservationists throughout the nation will continue their advocacy that led the Senate committee to protect the historic tax credit and ensure that any final tax legislation include the historic tax credit included in the Senate bill.

Background on the Federal Historic Tax Credit

For more than three decades, the federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC) has successfully implemented a national policy of preserving our historic resources. It is the most significant investment the federal government makes toward the preservation of our historic buildings. Since 1981, the credit has leveraged more than $131 billion in private investment, created more than 2.4 million jobs, and preserved more than 42,000 historic buildings that form the fabric of our nation. Watch this short video of President Reagan’s own words.


The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. | @savingplaces

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