Federal Historic Tax Credit Threatened with Repeal

12/12/2016
By Preservation Maryland

The federal rehabilitation tax credit is responsible for saving hundreds of historic buildings in Maryland and thousands more nationwide. With Congress poised to take up comprehensive tax reform, signals now point to a battle to save the tax credit from repeal. Fortunately, there is still time to save this program.

Historic Abell Building, Baltimore. One of the thousands of historic structures rehabilitated with the federal tax credit.

Historic Abell Building, Baltimore. One of the thousands of historic structures rehabilitated with the federal tax credit.

Over the last 36 years, the credit has created 2.3 million jobs, leveraged $117 billion in investment, and rehabilitated more than 41,250 buildings—all while generating enough in federal revenue to pay for itself. Since 2001, in Maryland this credit has made possible over $1.5 billion in rehabilitation projects in nearly every county. A map of all Maryland projects since 2001 can be found here.

The Current Situation

President-Elect Trump and Speaker Ryan have prioritized moving tax reform legislation in the first one hundred days of the next Congress which begins in January. A tax reform package could move quickly through Congress by way of the budget reconciliation process, which only requires a simple majority for passage in the Senate, instead of the typically needed 60 votes to cut off debate.

Historic farmhouse, Keymar, Maryland. Rehabilitated utilizing the federal rehab tax credit.

Historic farmhouse, Keymar, Maryland. Rehabilitated utilizing the federal rehab tax credit.

Why are we concerned about the future of the rehab tax credit?

We expect tax reform legislation will follow Speaker Ryan’s “A Better Way” blue print, released earlier this year. This document recommends eliminating tax credits and deductions, which would include the Historic Tax Credit (HTC), the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC).

If we lose the federal tax credit, many, if not most historic rehab projects in Maryland would become financially unfeasible.

Maryland’s Federal Delegation Largely Supportive

The good news in Maryland is that our federal delegation is exceptionally supportive of the program and credit. Senator Ben Cardin is of the biggest champions of the credit in the entire congress. However, we need to make certain that the future of the credit is a priority for our federal delegation in the face of many other priorities – and that our legislators use their position to influence legislators from around the nation. Your voice is needed to remind our legislators that this credit is a priority to their constituents.

Main Street Buildings in Frederick, Maryland rehabilitated with support of Federal tax credit program.

Main Street Buildings in Frederick, Maryland rehabilitated with support of federal tax credit program.

What can you do?

1. Call (or if possible hold a face-to-face meeting) your member of congress to express your support for the credit and the jobs it has created. The ask for your representatives: Please contact House Ways & Means Chairman Kevin Brady and other members of the House Ways and Means Committee to explicitly state your support of the Historic Tax Credit when reviewing draft Tax Reform Bill.

Alternatively, you can always call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121 (during office hours) and asked to be connected to your Senators’ or House Member’s DC office. Once connected to the office, you should identify yourself as a constituent, and either asked to be connected with tax staff ask for the email of tax staff to communicate your advocacy.

2. Donate to our Advocacy fund. Your support puts us on the ground and working to defend this critical piece of policy.

3. Take Action today by sending an email to your federal representatives to support the tax credit.

Preservation Maryland

Preservation Maryland is Maryland’s first and largest organization dedicated to preserving the state’s historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, and archaeological sites.

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