#46 Preservationists Push for More Tax Credits

Preservationists Push for More Tax Credits

From the News and Tribune of Indiana, October 5, 2011

Advocates of historic preservation are pushing state lawmakers to expand a tax credit they say will create economic development and help boost restoration of Indiana’s downtowns.

According to Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks, the Indiana Historic Preservation Tax Credit is ineffective.  The annual allotment of credits is so low that developers must wait more than a decade to reap the tax credit's rewards.  According to Davis, they should be promoting the Tax Credit as a preservation tool but can't because of the backlog.

Lawmakers, though, said that while the tax credit is a worthy program, any expansion would cost the state money at a time when the budget is already tight.

State lawmakers say that paying off the credits that have so far been approved but for a future date would cost almost $5 million.

According to Senator Brandt Hershman (R):

“A tax credit in essence means someone has to pay more in taxes or some program has to be cut to keep a balanced budget,” Hershman said. “I like this program. But how are we going to make this work and keep our fiscal house in order?”

The tax credit was created in 1994.  The credit, "offers users a state income tax credit of up to 20 percent of the cost of the preservation or restoration, up to a maximum of $100,000 per project."  The structure must be at least 50 years old, on the Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures, and be income-producing.  The property must be certified by the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology.

The total amount of credits annually can not be more than $450,000 so credits are pushed into future years.  Legislation introduced in January would have immediately increased the cap to $2 million and increased $2 million every year until the cap reached $10 million per year.  Half of the money would have been used for backlog credits and the other half for new projects.

Sounds good to me.

The state is torn between stimulating economic development but would cost the state more money.

According to Davis, Indiana's tax credit program is the least effective of the 31 states that offer similar programs.

Representatives are worried that the tax credit will mostly be applied in Indianapolis and not state wide.  The program is still under review and no decisions have been made to date.

Are tax credit programs working in your state?  Any problems?  Are there better solutions to encouraging the preservation of historic places in economically ravaged downtown areas?  Interesting story.

Written in Sparks, Nevada


2008  The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology (iPad App), Oxford University Press, 2nd ed.   Developed by Handmark, Inc.

Rabotage Excavation technique in which the surface of a deposit is carefully scraped with a trowel, knofe, or sharp spade to reveal features and cuts represented by differences in texture, color, or composition.  The technique is especially useful in silty and sandy soils.