The Historic Tax Credit Program under the federal government has been preserved by the United States Congress. It survived the tax cut of $1.5 trillion, with the US Senate passing the measure 51 for and 48 against the bill. The United States House of Representatives also voted by a slim margin, 224 for and 201 against the bill. A total of 12 GOP voted against the HTC. The result has been welcomed by historical preservationists. Although it survived, it is renewed with a few changes.
Foremost among the changes is that the present HTC will not permit developers to collect the complete 20 percent benefit at the time a historic building reopens its doors. The benefit will be distributed over a period of five years. A limit of four percent will be imposed every year. According to a number of industry professionals, the present use of HTC will make it a little less attractive for all probable investors. One good example of an ongoing project is South Boston wanting HTC for John Randolph Hotel renovation.
Jim Halasz, the Administrator of Halifax County, agreed that it is important to preserve the HTC in some form or the other. He said that the HTC is valid for continuing redevelopment. He pointed out that the action of redevelopment of the once Halifax Elementary School to Halifax Lofts would not be possible without the historic tax credits. Halasz said that the best return for any community is the re-purposing or reusing older buildings or structures. There is no point in smashing an existing building down and lose the value of infrastructure already present in the site.
Importance of HTC credits
Randy Jones, the public information officer, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, pointed out that South Boston town will be unrecognizable if there were no HTC credits to revitalize the old historic structures. The age-old constructions were re-purposed into The Prizery. Imperial Lofts, New Brick Historic Lofts, and Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. He said the credits are nor free and the pay by themselves. The HTC refreshes urban neighborhoods and small towns.
Jones claimed that HTCs are a bi-partisan issue at a time when there is much political polarization. He said that both the GOP and the Democrats comprehend tax credit values. Both of them know how to revitalize the communities. It also helps that jobs get created at a local level. Local materials and local crafts people are hired to preserve a slice of US history.