Significance: The Federal Historic Tax Credit program is one of the indispensible foundations of historic preservation. Since 1976, the program has leveraged nearly $100 billion in private investment to preserve 38,000 historic buildings nationwide. Every year in Philadelphia alone, an average of over $224 million in private investment and nearly 1,000 jobs are created by rehabilitation projects dependent on the federal tax credit program, whose costs are significantly less than the tax revenue it generates. The program is widely considered to be the largest and most successful community revitalization program in the country.
Threat: With our nation’s fiscal crisis demanding a reassessment of current tax policy, the historic tax credit is certain to come under the scrutiny of lawmakers in the coming months. Some members of Congress have already proposed its complete elimination, despite the fact that the program generates far more income than it expends. The shortsightedness of eliminating these credits will only be prevented by a strong show of support among community leaders, developers, preservationists and elected officials.
Recommendations: Historic tax credits should be strengthened, not abandoned. The Creating American Prosperity through Preservation (CAPP) Act has been introduced to Congress in an effort to reaffirm and expand the effectiveness of historic tax credits. The Alliance joins the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Historic Tax Credit Coalition in urging our elected representatives to support this legislation and oppose the elimination of historic credits from the tax code.