A day late, but nonetheless what we expected. The House tax reform bill released this morning does, in fact, eliminate the historic tax credit. This push for tax reform is still in early days and no doubt there will be many changes, maybe even the retention of the historic tax credit, but advocacy is still of the utmost importance. Perhaps now more than ever.
The release of the proposed legislation means that we now know what we are asking for: DO NOT REPEAL THE HISTORIC REHABILITATION TAX CREDIT. It means supporters of historic preservation and believers of economic prosperity driven by historic rehabilitations need to be very specific about what this program has to offer and what we stand to lose. Last year alone, over 1,000 historic rehabilitations were completed; 109,000 jobs were created; $1.7 billion federal, state, and local taxes were generated; and these projects generated $6.2 billion in GDP.
Over the lifetime of the program (1978-2016) these numbers are staggering:
- 42,293 projects have been certified
- 2.4 million + jobs have been created
- $29.8 billion federal taxes have been generated for $25.2 billion credits allocated (that's a $1.20:$1 ratio that proves the program is revenue positive)
- $144.9 billion has been contributed to GDP
These aggregate numbers are impressive. But it is also the unique placemaking that comes from the reuse of historic buildings in your very own communities that demonstrate the real value of the historic tax credit.
Why are these historic buildings important to you and your community? What positive change and economic development opportunities have you seen from these projects where you live, work, or play? In what state would these places and neighboring properties be without development that was incentivized by the historic tax credit? What projects will not get developed in the future without this incentive?
Consider these questions and take action now before it is too late. We still have a ways to go before the bill becomes law. But House and Senate Republicans are promising an aggressive approach to passage and we must take this very seriously. Losing our historic tax credit would change the landscape of future development in towns and cities across the country, making it more equitable to drastically alter or demolish our historic places. Once gone, we can never replace them.
The same can be said of the historic tax credit. Once gone, an effort to replace what is lost could have uncertain outcomes. We know what Gerald Ford's administration began and Ronald Reagan continued and supported works. We know that its foundation is strong and its bones are good. We know it should not be demolished.
Join us as we stand with the Historic Tax Credit Coalition and others throughout the country to support this historic tax credit. Your contribution of words and support could make all the difference.
Check out this list of important Republican legislators to contact today.