National Preservation Leaders Applaud Introduction of Historic Preservation Tax Incentive bills that Will Revitalize Main Streets and Strengthen Neighborhoods
Turner-Carnahan and Schock-Blumenauer measures will boost job creation and economic development
Posted July 20, 2011 | Contact email@example.com or 202-588-6141
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Action and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers applaud the introduction of two key Congressional bills introduced to capitalize on historic preservation’s power to create jobs and revitalize the communities where we live and work.
Reps. Michael Turner’s (R-OH) and Russ Carnahan’s (D-MO) “Historic Homeownership Revitalization Act (HHRA)” would create a national incentive – similar to many successful state tax credit programs – that helps homeowners care for their homes while serving to maintain the historic character of the properties and the vitality of historic neighborhoods. The “Creating American Prosperity through Preservation Act (CAPP),” introduced by Reps. Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), would make the existing federal historic tax credit (HTC) more accessible to developers of “Main Street”-scale historic real estate, promote energy efficient building systems and facilitate nonprofit-sponsored historic rehabilitation projects that typically produce high-impact community benefit in low-income areas (i.e. health facilities, job training centers, affordable housing).
Both measures highlight historic preservation’s success in creating jobs and attracting investment while reinvigorating our nation’s historic schools, warehouses, factories and neighborhoods. The historic tax credit alone has generated over 2 million jobs, leveraged $90 billion in private investment and spurred the rehabilitation of over 37,000 vacant or underutilized historic buildings. CAPP would modernize the HTC to expand its reach and accessibility, while a complementary homeowner tax credit would extend the strong revitalization effect in many states, such as Missouri and Maryland, to neighborhoods nationwide. Together, the bills promote balanced residential and commercial economic development that keep our historic Main Streets and surrounding neighborhoods vital, thriving places to work, live and play.
“Improving the existing commercial historic tax credit and providing a similar incentive for owners of historic homes, represents an important step forward in our national economic development policy—and one that both parties can support,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “It keeps America’s historic business districts and neighborhoods vibrant and alive, as centers for job creation, economic vitality and community life.”
“The federal historic tax credit has proven to be a cost-effective stimulus for job creation and tax revenue generation. In difficult economic times such as these, we can’t afford not to support historic preservation activity in our cities and rural areas to the fullest extent,” said Erik Hein, president of Preservation Action.
“These bills preserve important aspects of our irreplaceable past and ensure that investment in our existing older and historic resources is a key component of our nation’s economic recovery,” said Nancy Schamu, executive director of National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers. “We urge Congress to seize this opportunity to create high quality jobs, stimulate the economy and protect our rich heritage.”
Overview of the Bills’ Provisions:
- The Historic Homeownership Revitalization Act would create a 20 percent tax credit—up to $60,000—to encourage homeowners to rehabilitate their certified historic home in a way that is consistent with the historic character of the home and the surrounding neighborhood.
- To qualify, the taxpayer must make qualified rehabilitation expenditures over a 2 year period in a home that is his/her primary residence. The expenses must exceed either $5,000 or the taxpayer's basis in the property—whichever is greater. The credit would also be available for developers who rehabilitate homes and sell them to individuals who use them as their principal residence. Expenditures to enlarge properties would not qualify.
- The Creating American Prosperity through Preservation Act (CAPP) would increase the historic tax credit from its current 20 percent to 30 percent for “Main Street” scale projects ($5 million or less in qualifying project costs), enabling small towns and rural communities to benefit from the historic tax credit’s s job generation and economic development impact.
- CAPP would promote energy efficiency and cost savings by increasing the 20 percent historic tax credit and the 10 percent rehabilitation tax credit by 2 percentage points for projects that significantly increase energy efficiency by at least 30 percent.
- CAPP would also change the building age requirement for the 10 percent rehabilitation credit from pre-1936 to a straight “50 years or older” criterion, thus greatly increasing the development potential for post-World War II buildings.
- CAPP’s provisions would also facilitate nonprofits’ use of the by loosening disqualified lease restrictions, enabling them to undertake projects of high community benefit in the places of greatest need.
More information about the bills, including the newly released Rutgers University report on the Economic Impact of the Federal Historic Tax Credit, a list of endorsing organizations and a sample message for constituents to send to their Members of Congress, can be found at www.preservationnation.org.<-->
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.