Workers at the Hoen Lithograph Building rehabilitation project in Baltimore, MD, 2019.

Advocates Across America Call For Preservation Priorities to be Included in Recovery and Stimulus Legislation

04/27/2020
By Elly Colmers Cowan

Preservation Maryland has joined with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to call on Congress to include preservation priorities in the next coronavirus health, recovery, and stimulus legislation.

In a letter co-signed by preservation organizations from across the country, the National Trust urges Congressional leadership to include support for preservation incentives and programs as they continue to respond aggressively to the national health emergency. As Congress moves forward with additional relief programs, the National Trust’s letter outlines policy recommendations and additional investments in programs to catalyze the economic recovery of non-profit organizations, small businesses, and the arts and culture sector, while also protecting historic and cultural resources.

Add Your Voice: The House of Representatives has passed The Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), a comprehensive infrastructure bill that includes enhancements and temporary emergency measures for the federal Historic Tax Credit. Unfortunately, it faces staunch opposition in the Senate. You can help by adding your voice and contacting your Senators today to encourage them to support this landmark legislation.

Send A Message to your Legislators

In addition to supporting additional emergency funding to the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and opposing any legislative exemptions from provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act or the National Environmental Policy Act, the letter requests additional investments in the following programs to catalyze the economic recovery:

Historic Tax Credit

The federal historic tax credit (HTC) has been the nation’s most significant investment in historic preservation and has been an essential tool to rehabilitate downtowns and catalyze economic development. Historic rehabilitation incentives have shown time and again in reports their ability to stimulate economic activity and promote job creation.

The Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act (S.2615 / H.R. 2825 / HTC-GO) legislation would encourage more building reuse and further incentivize redevelopment in all communities, including smaller and rural Main Street communities. The provisions included in HTC-GO would not only make historic tax credits easier to use and more historic properties eligible for the credit, but they would also enhance the value of these credits for real estate investors.

Also proposed is a temporary increase in the credit percentage for all HTC projects and other provisions designed to keep current rehabilitation projects on track. Past federal disaster recovery legislation included increases to the HTC to help speed economic recovery. For example, the HTC was increased from 20 to 26 percent after Hurricane Katrina in the GO-ZONE Act of 2005 to help rebuild disaster-affected areas. The HTC was similarly increased in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 to address flooding, tornado, and severe weather damage in several mid-Western states. Data shows these temporary increases to the HTC exponentially increase rehabilitation activity, stimulate job creation, and catalyze additional community investment that would not otherwise occur.

Historic Preservation Fund and REHABILITATION Grants

The National Trust recommends supplemental funding of $420 million for the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). This includes a proposal of $120 million outlined by the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers and the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers for these purposes:

The National Trust supports this proposal, and we believe there is also a need for a much larger investment of $300 million to catalyze the economic benefits of historic rehabilitation and related historic resource programs. We support increases of $75 million each in these existing and successful HPF programs:

Public education demonstration at a restored Tolson's Chapel.

Public education demonstration at a restored Tolson’s Chapel.

Great American Outdoors Act

This historic bi-partisan legislation, Great American Outdoors Act (S.3422), co-sponsored by 58 Senators and supported by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, would:

If enacted, this legislation would be the single largest federal investment in the preservation of historic and cultural resources for public lands in our generation.

Preservation Maryland is proud to stand with our national partners at the National Trust for Historic Preservation in urging Congress to invest in our nation’s future economic health by investing in preservation.

TAKE ACTION

All Marylanders are encouraged to add your voice to urge Congress to include preservation programs in the next coronavirus recovery and stimulus legislation. Preservation Maryland has prepared a letter that can be customized specifically for constituents to contact their Maryland legislators in support of including historic preservation in future recovery and stimulus legislation.

COntact your Legislators

Support our Advocacy Fund

Download full SIGN-ON letter (PDF)

Elly Colmers Cowan · Director of Advocacy

Elly Cowan is here to get you involved in historic preservation, smart growth, and community development by becoming an advocate with us.

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