Current 2020 Priorities
Rather than just saving one building, aggressive advocacy gives us an opportunity to save thousands of buildings.
Advocacy is in Session! At the start of the 440th Session of the Maryland General Assembly in January 2020, Preservation Maryland stands poised to continue to be the voice of historic preservation and smart growth in Annapolis. The following advocacy issues represent our current portfolio of active efforts. Each issue presents itself with an opportunity to get involved – and each urgently requires donor support to make them a success.
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Contact Elly Cowan, Director of Advocacy
Historic Revitalization Tax Credit
The revitalization of Maryland communities is fueled by the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit program. Senator Katie Fry Hester and Delegate Stephanie Smith are introducing The Historic Revitalization Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2020 (SB978/HB862) that will strengthen this effective community redevelopment tool.
HISTORIC TAX CREDITS WORK FOR MARYLAND
As of FY20, Maryland invested only $9M in the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit program for the year for the entire state. By comparison, Virginia invests nearly $100M annually, and West Virginia invests $30M. Maryland is falling behind. Preservation Maryland and our supporters have worked diligently to make policy changes to strengthen this essential revitalization tool. Unfortunately, without more funding for the program, those positive changes have little opportunity to make the intended impact for communities across Maryland.
COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION
We recognize the positive impact that historic preservation projects can have for the surrounding community and the state as a whole. The Historic Revitalization Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2020 (SB978/HB862) would:
- Increase funding for the program to $15 for FY 2022, followed by a stepped increase to reach full funding at $30M in FY2025,
- Allow the state Historic Tax Credit to be transferred outside of development partnerships to help decrease the cost of completing projects and provide an additional financing option for preservation redevelopment. This would go a long way to offset the damaging impact on community redevelopment the change to the federal Historic Tax Credit that came out of recent tax reform has had and costs the state nothing, and
- Extend the authorization of the program through 2028.
Preservation Grant Funding
Maryland’s preservation grant programs had gone completely unfunded since FY10. Because of our advocacy, in FY18, funding was restored to the Capital and Non-Capital grant programs. Current funding continues at starvation level, with the need far outstripping available funds. We must and will do more to support those safe-guarding our state’s rich and unique history.
CURRENT MHT GRANT PROGRAM FUNDING: $900K
TOTAL FY21 REQUEST: $1M
- Capital Grant Program
Current Funding: $600k
FY21 Capital Request: $600k
This program funds capital upgrades and repairs to certified historic structures owned by non-profits and local governments. It is operated as a competitively-awarded program with statewide reach and impact.
- Non-Capital Grants (Planning & Research)
Current Funding: $300k
FY21 Operating Request: $400k
This program was previously funded via the state operating budget. This program awarded competitive grants for architectural and archaeological research, survey and documentation, public education, and planning projects. The program directly supported local government efforts to preserve places important to their constituents.
African American Heritage Grant Funding
The African American Heritage Grant Program provides direct grant support for capital (bricks-and-mortar) upgrades and repairs to sites representing Maryland’s African-American historical experience. As with the Capital and Non-Capital Grant programs, the funding requests for this program are consistently greater than the available funding.
CURRENT African American Heritage Grant Funding: $1M
TOTAL FY21 REQUEST: $3M
Smart Growth Legislation
Southern Maryland rapid transit Project
(SB105/HB205) Over the last 25 years, the state has completed five major studies on the feasibility, need, and economic impact of high-capacity, fixed route transit service to Southern Maryland, and despite the conclusion of every study repeatedly confirming that the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit project would vastly improve the quality of life for Southern Maryland residents, promote economic development consistent with smart growth, and advance the State’s emissions reduction goal, the Maryland Department of Transportation has not moved forward with the project. SB105 would require the State to complete the necessary steps to complete the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit project and commit the necessary funding.
Local Consent of Toll Road Construction
(SB229/HB292)This legislation would extended an authority currently only granted to eastern shore counties, which would require that local governments approve of state toll roads before their construction in their jurisdictions. Toll roads have the potential to significantly impact growth patterns, and often historic resources, making this legislation a priority for the smart growth and preservation community alike.
Program Open Space
In 1969, the Maryland General Assembly created Program Open Space through the institution of a transfer tax of .5% on every real estate transaction in the state. Since then the program has been responsible for:
- 319,000 acres of open space for state parts and natural resource areas,
- Creation and funding of the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority and heritage area grants,
- More than 6,100 individual county and municipal parks and conservation areas,
- 31,000 acres of local park land,
- 31 Rural Legacy Areas, preserving 77,000 acres,
- 286,000 acres of farmland under Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation easement.
The Maryland Heritage Areas Authority is funded by Program Open Space. Preservation Maryland supports full funding of Program Open Space and the Heritage Area Authority, opposes any attempts to shortcut, reduce, or cap the program in any way, and we support the repayment of previous diversions from the fund.
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