Down, but not out – Groundwork laid for passage in future session

Res-Comm++31

Waldo Hotel, Clarksburg / Photo by Amy Heiden

It is with mixed emotions that I share that SB 238, which would have increased the rate of West Virginia’s historic rehabilitation tax credit to 25%, did not complete legislation by midnight on Saturday, April 8th.

When the Revitalize West Virginia Downtowns Coalition first formed and announced its intentions last year, the group was met with heavy skepticism. Some doubted that the proposal would gain traction in the Legislature. Others feared that the Legislature would cut the historic tax credit program altogether.

In reality, increasing the rate of the historic rehab tax credit received widespread support and found strong advocates in both chambers.

SB 238 passed the Senate, 34 – 0, and passed the House with amendments introduced in House Finance, 90 – 8.

Unfortunately, the Senate and House were unable to resolve the differences between their respective versions of the bill during a conference committee.

The Senate refused to accept the House’s amendments as the provisions would have hindered redevelopment even more so than the current historic rehabilitation tax credit program’s 10% rate.

And the House refused to budge on its amendments, most notably a statewide program cap.

In a last-ditch effort to keep the bill alive and settle the dispute outside of the conference committee, the Senate recalled SB 238 from the House to amend the bill and send it back to the House for a vote.

Unfortunately, the House refused to return the bill to the Senate, effectively killing SB 238 for the 2017 legislative session.

From what the Revitalize West Virginia Downtowns Coalition understands, negotiations lasted off and on throughout the final day of session, making SB 238 one of the most buzzed about bills at the Capitol.

Even though the bill did not pass this session, the Revitalize West Virginia Downtowns Coalition — thanks in large part to your enthusiasm and assistance — has laid the groundwork to increase the historic rehab tax credit in the very near future.

And the Coalition intends to do just that.

Whether historic rehab tax credit legislation is introduced during a potential special session later this year or during the 2018 legislative session, I encourage you to reach out to your lawmakers today.

Please thank your Senators, Delegates, and the Governor’s Office for supporting SB 238, and consider asking them to continue advocating for historic rehab tax credits.

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

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