Historic Tax Credit Bills Stalled: Please Call Today!

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Photo by Travel Throne

If you want to help reduce the number of abandoned properties in West Virginia and spark historic redevelopment in our communities, there’s something you can do right this minute.

It’s do or die time for Senate Bill 238 and House Bill 2545, both of which would increase the rate of West Virginia’s historic rehabilitation tax credit from 10% to 25%.

Both bills must pass out of their respective Finance Committees in the next two weeks (by March 26th!) to even have a chance of continuing on the path to becoming law.

The competition to be taken up by one of the Finance Committees is fierce. The Senate currently has 64 bills pending in Finance, while the House has 96 — these numbers are sure to multiply as the Legislature gets closer to March 26th.

If you care about downtown redevelopment and reducing the number of abandoned properties in West Virginia, please contact the Senate and House Finance Committee Chairs and tell them to make proposals to increase the historic tax credit a priority in their committees!

Contact Senator Mike Hall at 304-357-7901 or mike.hall@wvsenate.gov to discuss SB 238, and contact Delegate Eric Nelson at 304-340-3230 or eric.nelson@wvhouse.gov to discuss HB 2545.

While you’re encouraged to share your thoughts in your own words, here’s one suggestion that’s short and to the point:

“Hello, my name is […], and I support an increased historic rehabilitation tax credit rate. I’m calling to find out when [SB 238 / HB 2545] will be placed on the finance committee agenda.”

Increasing the state historic tax credit would spark the redevelopment of West Virginia’s abandoned historic buildings.

The historic rehabilitation tax credit is one of the few tax credits where the state’s investment is directly recouped via state and local taxes for as long as the rehabbed building is occupied.

At a time when West Virginia needs to kickstart its economy, it is critical that this proposal pass. West Virginia communities and taxpayers stand to benefit.

Enhanced local revenue. Historic rehab increases property value, which in turn increases local property tax revenue.

Jobs. Rehab projects create more jobs in the construction industry than new construction.

Downtown revitalization. The historic rehab tax credit is one of the most effective tools to encourage downtown revitalization and redevelopment.

Catalyst effect. The rehab of a single prominent building is in some cases sufficient to stimulate the revitalization of an entire area. In other cases, a series of smaller rehabs can result in the critical mass necessary to bring a neighborhood back to prosperity.

Improved & affordable housing stock. The conversion of former factories, warehouses, and other buildings into apartments and condos leads to the increased availability of housing, including low- and moderate-income housing.

Business & retail activity. Historic rehabilitation in downtown areas results in enhanced retail and business activity.

Efficient development. Historic rehabilitation makes use of existing infrastructure reducing the need for taxpayer dollars to construct new roads, water and sewer lines and gas, electrical, and telephone lines. In addition, especially if demolition costs are figured in, the cost of rehabilitation is often less than new construction, resulting in more efficient development.

Tourism. Through the use of the rehabilitation tax credits, heritage destination attractions are supported by revitalized historic neighborhoods where visitors can stay in bed-and-breakfast inns, shop in restored commercial areas, dine in creatively adapted buildings, and stroll through living neighborhoods showcasing a wealth of historic architecture

Without an increased historic rehabilitation tax credit rate of 25%, West Virginia is missing out on all of the above and more.

If you want West Virginia to make better use of its historic buildings, and create jobs and economic activity, please contact Senator Hall and Delegate Nelson!

Many thanks for your interest and energy. If you have any questions about the bills or would just like to talk more, be sure to get in touch.

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