On the evening of July 22, 2020, the House of Representatives approved one of the most significant pieces of conservation legislation in a generation, the Great American Outdoors Act, with broad bipartisan support. Having passed the Senate in June, the legislation is on its way to the President’s desk, who specifically requested the bill for his signature.
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, thanks in part to the advocacy of Preservation Maryland and our national partners.
United States Capitol Rotunda.
Senator Cardin Introduces Preservation Legislation
02/16/2017 By Preservation Maryland
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin affirmed his commitment to historic preservation and community development by introducing legislation to improve the nation’s rehabilitation tax credit program.
Senator Ben Cardin
Maryland Senator Cardin, a nationally recognized proponent of preservation, introduced the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act, S. 425, on February 16th to improve and enhance the federal rehabilitation tax credit program. He was joined by a bi-partisan collection of bill co-sponsors, including Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
The new legislation would make changes to the program to further encourage building reuse and redevelopment in small, midsize, and rural communities. It also makes the rehabilitation of community projects like theaters, libraries, and schools easier. Finally, the bill would make more historic properties eligible to use the credit by updating program requirements to reflect current industry practices.
Tax Credit Remains Threatened
President Trump and Speaker Ryan have prioritized moving tax reform legislation early in the new Congress. 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.
While Senator Cardin’s new legislation is a positive and powerful step, it does not remove the threat currently confronting the credit. Comprehensive tax reform remains a serious and critical danger to the future of preservation.
The expectation is that tax reform legislation will still follow Speaker Ryan’s “A Better Way” blue print, released last year. This document recommends eliminating most tax credits and deductions, which would include the Historic Tax Credit, the New Markets Tax Credit and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.
New Legislation charts a different course
Senator Cardin’s legislation suggests an alternative course. Instead of repealing one of the most effective community development tools, Senator Cardin’s legislation would increase the value of the credit and make necessary improvements to assist in bringing more projects to completion. This legislation charts a course to prosperity and is an excellent alternative for the Congress to consider as debate over tax reform begins in the spring.