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Higgins Fights for Restoration of Historic Tax Credits

Nov 9, 2017
Press Release
House GOP Tax Bill Eliminates Successful Program that Boosts Economic Investment and Jobs

During a House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee hearing on the GOP tax bill, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) fought to save Historic Tax Credits – a program preserving architecturally significant historic buildings, reviving cities and creating jobs across America. 

Buildings on the National and State Registers of Historic Places are eligible for a 20% Federal Historic Tax Credit through the National Park Service (NPS) and New York State offers a matching 20% State Tax Credit through the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).  If the federal credit were to be discontinued, both the federal and state incentive to invest in historic properties would be eliminated. Under the House tax reform bill, Historic Tax Credits are eliminated.  

Higgins, who also serves as Co-chair of the Congressional Revitalizing Older Cities Task Force, argued, “The Historic Tax Credit has been a powerful economic force playing itself out and through every city in America including mine of Buffalo, New York.  Over the last five years, $500 million in projects have restored 70 historic buildings in Western New York. 

“The Historic Tax Credit is an essential driver of private investment to restore physically and financially challenging historic buildings throughout America.  The Historic Tax Credit returns more in revenue to the federal government than the tax credits actually cost.  In fact, the federal government receives $1.25 in tax revenues for each dollar invested.  Twenty-three [billion] dollars in federal tax credits nationally generated $28 billion in federal tax revenues for historic rehabilitation projects. 

“So, I’d ask the committee to please consider the value of the projects to local communities throughout America, but also the positive impact it has on the federal budget.  It is a net contributor to the federal budget.”  

President Reagan, who worked to expand the credit, touted the program’s effectiveness, “Our tax credits have made the preservation of our older buildings not only a matter of respect for beauty and history, but of economic good sense,” said Reagan.    

A joint report issued by Rutgers and the National Park Service found Historic tax credits have preserved over 42,000 buildings, led to more than $131 billion in private sector investment in communities and created more than 2.4 million jobs.