Collins, Kelly lead bipartisan legislation to preserve, enhance historic preservation tax credits

Bipartisan, bicameral legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) would preserve and enhance the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) to support economic development across the country.

The Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act would modify the HTC to encourage the reuse of buildings in small, mid-sized and rural communities. The measure, S. 425/H.R. 1158, would also make it easier to revitalize community projects like theaters, libraries and schools.

“The Historic Tax Credit incentivizes the restoration and preservation of historic buildings,” Collins said. “It is a proven tool for revitalizing communities and catalyzing economic development in Maine and across the nation. Since 2008, the Historic Tax Credit has leveraged approximately $350 million in private investment in Maine alone. Our bipartisan legislation will make the Historic Tax Credit easier to use, expanding its economic benefit and creating good-paying jobs for hardworking Americans.”

The bill would also update HTC program requirements to better reflect current industry practices and to make more historic properties eligible.

“From the Presque Isle Lighthouse in Erie to Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is blessed with an abundance of historic properties and places,” Kelly said. “Unfortunately, many of these properties are at risk due to severe neglect. This bipartisan bill will make important changes to the tax code to better facilitate the reuse of historic buildings. This is about preserving the Keystone State’s history and heritage as well as fostering the growth of local jobs, economic development and private investment in Pennsylvania neighborhoods.”

Created by Congress in 1976, historic preservation tax credits have generated $78 billion for the rehabilitation of more than 41,250 historic properties and have created 2.36 million jobs across the country.

Every $1 of historic preservation tax credits generates a minimum of $4 of private sector investment, according to a study by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the measure with Collins and Kelly.

Stephanie Meeks, the president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said, “The federal historic tax credit is the driving force behind rehabilitation projects that have given new life to historic buildings, created millions of jobs and attracted billions in private investment.”

“Now, more libraries, theaters, town halls and other buildings can be restored to serve their communities in new ways,” she said.