National Trust Pitches Federal Historic Tax Credit as Economic Development Tool

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s campaign to preserve the federal historic tax credit (HTC) is gaining steam as more people sign on to their petition, and Congress considers legislation that would save the credit from being eliminated in a comprehensive tax reform proposal.

National Trust petition to save the federal historic tax credit

National Trust petition to save the federal historic tax credit

They’re pitching it as a tool that brings jobs, economic development and pride to communities nationwide.

The U.S. Treasury has handed out $21 billion through the HTC since the program’s inception more than 30 years ago, and the results are quite clear.

Projects receiving this tax credit have leveraged $109 billion in private investment; created 2.41 million jobs; generated $26.6 billion in federal taxes; and preserved nearly 40,000 historic buildings.

This means the program more than pays for itself. Furthermore, these rehabilitations are essentially “green” projects that recycle properties, which in turn slows down the encroachment of new developments into existing green and open spaces and farmland.

Not to mention the fact that the saved historic buildings give character to communities, which attracts residents, businesses and tourists.

The Prosperity Through Preservation campaign to save the HTC is led by the National Trust and the Historic Tax Credit Coalition.

The campaign recently released a study that shows how the HTC is a catalyst for change and is transforming communities. The study, commissioned by the National Trust and prepared by Place Economics, highlights the catalytic role of historic preservation projects in six cities in three states.

For example, after two key rehabilitation projects were completed in Salt Lake City’s Depot District, the market value of properties in the area rose by 22.5 percent, while at the same time property values citywide dropped by more than 17 percent.

In Montgomery County, MD, more than two dozen historic buildings that were in government hands were rehabilitated, and now provide $60 million in new property taxes.

The campaign to save the HTC is also trying to get the Creating American Prosperity through Preservation (CAPP) Act passed. This bill would not only save the HTC, but also enhance the program’s ability to revitalize small Main Street projects and enable energy-efficiency projects.

The petition to save the HTC can be found here. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh is one of those who recently signed the petition.

“This historic tax credit is hugely significant to Boston because of the investment and economic development it encourages,” said Mayor Walsh.

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