Advocacy Alert: Federal Historic Tax Credits at Risk!
Help Us Preserve Historic Tax Credits!
Right now Congress is close to finalizing tax reform legislation. The Republican leadership’s outline for tax reform, meant to guide the legislative process, failed to retain the historic tax credit (HTC), despite its success over its more than 35-year history of revitalizing small towns, creating jobs, and increasing economic activity, all while returning more tax revenue to the Treasury than it costs.
Without the federal tax HTC, our Maine State Tax Credit could also be at risk, and Maine’s historic towns, cities, and Main Streets could lose an essential tool that helps drive economic growth.
The HTC has helped revitalize historic buildings in Greater Portland and across Maine. Tax reform must not come at the expense of a program that more than pays for itself and has a proven track record of creating jobs, saving historic buildings, and bringing new vitality to our communities!
“No state enjoys a more glorious and abundant legacy of historic structures than Maine. These inspiring civic, religious, residential, commercial, and industrial buildings enhance our urban and rural landscapes from Kittery to Fort Kent, from East Wilton to Eastport. They are the heart and soul of Maine today and tomorrow, powerful reminders of our past, and critical assets that drive our economic future. Nothing is more important to their future than the Federal and State Historic Tax Credit programs that make possible their maintenance, rehabilitation, and timely re-use for future generations.
The State program, begun in 2007-08, builds directly upon the Federal; and a careful 2011 evaluation of the State program, done while Maine was deep in recovery from the Great Recession, found that “Maine’s State Historic Tax Credit program has performed well so far. It has stimulated construction activity and jobs, even as the rest of the real estate industry has slumped. Over the long term (its) continuation will support jobs and income, build Maine’s quality of place image, and generate a positive fiscal impact for state and local government revenues.”*
The Maine Historic Preservation Commission tracks housing units and jobs created, as well as local property tax valuation changes resulting from the Maine Historic Tax Credit program. It reports the following on some 40 projects in Greater Portland, since 2008:
– Housing units created: 367
– Construction rehab jobs: 2400
– Jobs in rehabbed buildings: 875
– Local property tax value before rehab: $54 million
– Local property tax value after rehab: $121 million (more than double)
* See Planning Decisions, Inc, The Economic and Fiscal Impacts on Maine of Historic Preservation and the State Historic Preservation Tax Credit, April 21, 2011.”
Richard Barringer, Emeritus Professor
Muskie School of Public Service, USM
What Can You Do?
Please help us by calling or writing your lawmakers and urging them to keep the historic tax credit in any reform of the tax code!
Thank Senator Collins for being the lead co-sponsor of the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2017, which has been introduced in the Senate. Ask Senator Collins to continue her support to keep the Historic Tax Credit in the reformed tax code.
Call – 207-780-3575
Ask Senator King to contact members of the Senate Finance Committee to voice his support for the Historic Tax Credit and ensure it is preserved in the reformed tax code.
Thank Representative Pingree for sponsoring the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2017 in the House. Ask Representative Pingree to continue her support to keep the Historic Tax Credit in the reformed tax code.
Thank Representative Poliquin for sponsoring the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2017, and for signing a letter in favor of retaining the HTC in the tax reform bill. Ask Representative Poliquin to continue his support to keep the Historic Tax Credit in the reformed tax code.