Urgent Action Requested!
The federal historic tax credit reduced in Senate Tax Reform Bill Release, House Committee Passes Tax Bill with HTC Eliminated
Today the Senate Finance Committee released their version of a tax reform bill that reduces the Historic Tax Credit in half, from 20% to 10% for historic buildings. Additionally, the 10% pre-1936 non-historic “old” building credit is eliminated.
Also today, the House Ways and Means Committee passed The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) or H.R. 1, with the HTC entirely eliminated, on a party line vote 24-16, setting up full-House floor consideration next week.
Your immediate ACTION is needed!
How Can You Take Action?
Contact House and Senate Members - Call (during office hours) the offices of your Members of Congress. Ask to speak to tax staff, your staff contacts in offices or ask for email addresses of tax staff.
A suggested outline of your email message or phone call:
All advocates should be fully activated across the country, connecting with both House and Senate offices, asking them to retain the HTC in tax reform bills, undiminished. The fate of the HTC will be determined over the next few weeks, please advocate and ask others to advocate!
The House of Representatives is expected to consider and vote on the bill on the House floor next week. Also next week, the Senate will begin to mark-up and pass their version of the tax reform bill out of the Senate Finance Committee.
-Please contact your House Representative by COB Monday and ask them to work with House leadership to insert the HTC back into the final House bill.
-Contact your Senators by COB Monday and ask them to go to the Senate Finance Committee and Senate leadership, express support to retain the HTC in the Senate tax reform bill undiminished.
Despite our collective frustrations, it is extremely important to keep all Capitol Hill communication constructive and respectful.
Advocates Should Focus on Preserving the HTC not influencing the Transition Rules
While the House repeal transition rules have been described as both stingy and unclear, advocates should direct 100% of their advocacy to preserving the credit in its current form in the House and Senate. Should the need arise, there will be opportunities later in the legislative process to negotiate favorable transition rules. Now is not that time. Such actions could extinguish momentum advocates are gaining to retain the HTC in tax reform. There is a good chance the Senate bill passed out of committee will incorporate the historic tax credit and there is still opportunity for the HTC to be added back in the House bill.
U.S. Representatives Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., and David McKinley, R-W.Va., have been outspoken in their support for the credits, she said.
"We are grateful that McKinley and Jenkins requested the inclusion of this economic-development tool in the tax reform bill," LaPresta said.
"Both legislators represent districts in which historic tax credits are attracting private investment."
Historic tax credits helped finance 92 commercial-rehabilitation projects in West Virginia between 2002 and 2016, leveraging more than $175 million in development investment and supporting more than 3,500 construction jobs, she said.
"These credits are highly influential when it comes to attracting larger businesses into West Virginia downtowns," LaPresta said.
The tax credit was championed by President Ronald Reagan to encourage the rehabilitation of abandoned and underutilized properties. Since 1981, it has leveraged more than $131 billion in private investment and created more than 2.4 million, she said.
The state Legislature in October increased the State Historic Tax Credit from 10 to 25 percent, but weakening or eliminating the Federal Historic Tax Credit could endanger the feasibility of nearly all historic rehabilitation projects in West Virginia.
"We think the credit complements, rather than hinders, Congress's goal of pro-growth tax reform," LaPresta said.
“There are a dozen buildings that we predicted would be rehabilitated with the increase of the state historic tax credit. Now, with the proposed elimination of the federal credit, we fear progress will be jeopardized."
The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia is a non-profit dedicated to historic preservation and a statewide partner in the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
LaPresta is urging business leaders who wish to advocate for the federal historic tax credit to contact the alliance at 304-345-6005 or visit its website at PAWV.org.
Preservation Alliance of West Virginia
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