Advocating for Historic Preservation

                                                                                                                            

Federal Level

Last year, Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy presented an amendment to the omnibus tax bill that saved the Federal Historic Tax Credit. Preserve Louisiana continues our work with all of our legislators’ offices to advocate for Historic Preservation in two key areas -the Historic Preservation Fund and the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act. Last week, historic preservation stakeholders from Louisiana met with each legislators office to discuss these two key areas.

The Historic Preservation Fund supports key pillars of preservation such as our SHPO office, grants to invest in geographic information systems-based mapping for historic resources, preservation and repair of historic buildings on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Save America’s Treasures Program, and and Civil Rights History Grants to name a few. Preserve Louisiana encourages our law makers to support the 2020 appropriations for this fund which is key to preserving our cultural and architectural heritage. Details can be found here.

This year, Senator Cassidy will introduce the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act which aims to strengthen and improve the existing credit. This credit (referred to as the HTC) is critical in making historic preservation projects in our state and country possible. Improvements to the current credit in the new legislation include;

·         Making it easier to finance small deals (defined as qualified rehabilitation expenses not in excess of $3.75 million) by increasing the HTC to 30% for these projects and providing for transferable certificates;

·         Making more buildings eligible for the HTC by reducing the requirements to pass the substantial rehabilitation test;

·         Eliminating the tax credit basis reduction that decreases the value of the HTC;

·         Making it easier for tax-exempt projects, like community health centers, local art centers, schools, universities and community services, to qualify for HTCs; and

·         Updating National Park Service rules to ensure projects are evaluated promptly and efficiently.

Preserve Louisiana will continue to share updates as they become available.

State Level

Preserve Louisiana, a member of the state tax credit coalition, is working with key preservation stake holders to support the extension of the sunset of the State Commercial Historic Tax Credit (a tool often used in tandem with the Federal HTC). Scheduled to sunset in 2021, the credit is a key tool in preservation of cultural and architecturally significant structures in our cities and rural areas alike. The proposed legislation would extend this invaluable credit to 2026. Every $1 that the state of Louisiana provides in commercial historic tax credits spurs $8.76 in additional economic activity. Lieutenant Governor Nungesser’s office hired historic preservation and economics guru, Donovan Rypkema, and his team at PlaceEconomics in Washington DC, to put together this informative report on our state tax credit, The Historic Tax Credit: Building the Future in Louisiana.

Stay tuned to see how you can help to preserve this tool in historic preservation on the state level.

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