Friday, July 19, 2013

The Federal Historic Tax Credit Program is at Risk, But You Can Help

It’s no secret that the NYS and Federal historic tax credit programs are a major driving force in revitalizing Buffalo and communities throughout WNY. Look no further than projects big and small in downtown alone: Hotel Lafayette, Lofts at 136, 210 Ellicott Lofts, the Tishman Building, and the handful of smaller historic rehabilitations in the 500 block of Main Street just to name a few.
Unfortunately, the Federal portion of the tax credit program is now at risk, as the National Trust for Historic Preservation explains below:
“Today, the Federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC) is at risk as never before. Tax reform is forcing an examination of all government expenditures and sources of revenue, including tax expenditures such as tax credits and deductions. Members of Congress have proposed eliminating the HTC and other tax preferences to balance the budget.
The National Trust, in collaboration with the Historic Tax Credit Coalition, has launched in a multi-year national initiative to defend, preserve, and enhance the federal historic tax credit. The centerpiece of this campaign is the Creating American Prosperity through Preservation (CAPP) Act, which would not only preserve this important credit, but also increase its ability to revitalize smaller Main Street projects and catalyze energy-efficient projects.
Research also shows that state historic tax credit programs leverage the use of the federal credit. Take Missouri, for example. When the state tax credit was introduced, the number of federal rehabilitation projects doubled. Like the federal credit, several of these programs are threatened as well.”
There has been a lot of research put into exploring the benefits of the historic preservation tax credit. Many will remember the recent post regarding the economic benefits of supporting the program by Derek King. The loss of the Federal program would jeopardize future historic rehabilitation projects (think AM&A’s department store rehab), but it would also affect the smaller deals that are happening across the city like property owners in historic districts who are looking at investing significant money into their income properties that help bring up whole neighborhoods.
It’s easy to help support this initiative, you don’t even need to leave your computer! You can help in two ways by filling out this simple form that goes to the senate and/or signing the pledge to support historic preservation and the retention of the Federal tax credit program. We can all be heard on this topic and it only takes a few minutes of your time. Supporting the Federal historic tax credit supports the continuation of historic rehabilitation projects that are putting Buffalo on the map again. For more information, talking points, and the economics of historic preservation, check out the national trust’s website.
Written by Michael Puma, Project Manager, and Director of Technical Services at Preservation Studios.

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