The Intelligencer: Historic Structures Bill Will Have Future



Photo by Joselyn King / The Intelligencer

By Joselyn King / The Intelligencer

WHEELING — A tax credit for rehabilitating historic structures that didn’t pass during the West Virginia Legislature’s recent special session may not be history, after all, as local lawmakers plan to reintroduce the measure next year.

Language giving developers greater incentives to undertake the redevelopment of aging — and often vacant — buildings was included within a contentious tax reform bill that failed to gain approval in the last hours of the session last week. The language would have raised the historic tax credit in the state from 10 percent of qualified project costs to 25 percent, and it would have placed a cap of $3.7 million on each renovation project.

Neighboring states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania already offer a tax credit of 25 percent.

The measure had bipartisan support in both chambers, but fell victim as lawmakers debated the merits of reducing the state’s income tax and increasing the consumer sales tax.

Read the full story at

The Herald-Dispatch: Revenue Bill that Includes Historic Tax Credit in High-Stakes Negotiation



Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography


By Lacie Pierson / The Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON – Members of the West Virginia Legislature picked up Wednesday where they left off on May 24 and sent a tax revenue measure to a conference committee with the goal of reaching a compromise before June 30.

House Bill 107, or the West Virginia Tax Reform Act of 2017, was referred to the committee in the first formal legislative action taken by lawmakers in regard to the revenue measure they estimate will close a budget gap for fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1.

Read the full story at

WV MetroNews: Two Plans, Different Anticipated Results in State Legislature


Photo by Perry Bennett / WV State Legislature Photography

An increased historic tax credit rate is included in revenue plans proposed by both the Senate and the House of Delegates. Below Brad McElhinney provides an overview of the two plans and an analysis of their anticipated results.

By Brad McElhinney / WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Assessments of two different revenue plans by the Senate and House of Delegates show very different results.

The House proposal is expected to raise a little more than $100 million in additional revenue for the coming fiscal year, mainly by eliminating sales tax exemptions on some economic sectors. That leaves the plan about $150 million short of bridging the state’s fiscal gap.

The Senate proposal raises an estimated $147 million for the coming fiscal year, both by eliminating some exemptions and also by raising the state sales tax to 7.25 percent. But it results in significant revenue reductions in the years after that through proposed tax decreases.

The plans have been at odds within the Legislature as the House passed its proposal with a bipartisan 74-17 vote on May 16

The Senate passed its plan May 24 on a 18-13 vote that included all Republicans except for Senator Randy Smith voting in favor and all Democrats against. The House then voted 85-0 to refuse to concur.

The Legislature then recessed from its special session until June 5, this coming Monday, to allow time for negotiations among all sides and Gov. Jim Justice.

What might result is some sort of compromise, but it’s worth getting into the nuts and bolts of what each house’s plan is expected to do to affect Justice’s budget proposal of $4.35 billion. This is based on fiscal notes filed by the state Department of Revenue, assessing the potential effects of each bill. The assessments don’t take into account any potential boost in economic activity that could result from changes to policy.

To read the assessments of each house’s plan, check out

UpThink: Historic Tax Credits & Why They Matter



UpThink is an email series by GenerationWV, a statewide organization dedicated to attracting, retaining, and advancing young talent in the Mountain State.

By Nicole Marrocco / WV Community Development Hub

Little excites me more than a community finding a modern use for a historic building.

Nerdy, I know.

But just check out this church turned indoor rock gymgas station turned restaurant, and bank turned grocery store, and I guarantee you’ll be geeking out over the untapped potential of abandoned and underperforming historic buildings alongside me.

Historic tax credits make it possible to revitalize historic properties that have a financing gap between what banks will lend and the total cost of rehabilitation.

Developers restoring income-producing (i.e. commercial, industrial, agricultural, or rental-residential) buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places or certified by the National Parks Service can apply for personal or corporate net income tax credits from West Virginia worth 10 percent of rehabilitation expenses.

Unfortunately, West Virginia’s 10 percent rate just isn’t cutting it — especially considering all of our neighboring states have either a 20 or 25 percent historic tax credit rate. Developers are wary of rehabbing buildings here because the risk is so much higher compared to places just across the state border.

Over the last few months, the Revitalize West Virginia’s Downtowns Coalition (including Generation West Virginia) has been advocating to increase the rate to 25 percent to make our state’s historic districts more attractive to developers and spur private investment.

Read the full UpThink to find out why — as a young person living in West Virginia — I believe an increased historic tax credit rate is a game-changer.

WV Public Broadcasting: House Standing its Ground on Tax Reform in New Bill


House Speaker Tim Armstead and Finance Chair Eric Nelson speak before a House floor session. Photo by Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

By Ashton Marra / WV Public Broadcasting

Members of the House are standing their ground when it comes to tax reform. At least, that’s what House Speaker Tim Armstead said Friday after a vote in the chamber on its own version of a revenue bill.

The bill does not include any of the changes to the personal income tax Senate Republicans and Gov. Jim Justice have agreed to, but Armstead said that doesn’t mean his chamber isn’t still willing to work on a compromise.

Members of the House voted 74 to 17 in favor of the tax bill negotiated between House Democrats and Republicans.

It brings in an estimated $100 million in additional revenue to close a budget gap in the 2018 fiscal year, which isn’t enough according to members of the chamber, but is a start.

Read the full story, including more about the historic tax credit, at 

The Intelligencer: House Passes Revenue Bill that Includes Historic Tax Credit


West Virginia Delegate Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock, delivers a speech about the historic tax credit Friday on the House floor. Photo by Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography.

By Joselyn King / The Intelligencer

WHEELING — The West Virginia House of Delegates passed its version of a revenue bill Friday on what was the sixth day of a special legislative session in Charleston called for setting the state’s 2018 budget.

Despite a long agenda of proposed amendments, House Bill 107 was approved with few changes from the measure passed Thursday by the House Finance Committee. It would maintain West Virginia’s consumer sales tax at 6 percent, but would eliminate sales tax exemptions on cellphone services. It also would make no changes to the state’s coal and gas severance tax rates, but would gradually eliminate all taxation of Social Security within the next three years.

Read the full story, including more about the historic tax credit, at

Charleston Gazette-Mail: Increased Credit Would Make Developers Say “Yes” to West Virginia


Tighe Bullock stands inside a first-floor entry of the Staats Hospital Building in 2014. Ric Cavender, of Charleston Main Streets, touted Bullock’s West Side work as one of the success stories of tax credits for historic renovations. Credit: Gazette-Mail file photo

By Ali Schmitz / Charleston Gazette-Mail

A measure to increase tax credits available to developers restoring historic buildings remains alive during the special session of the state Legislature.

The measure, which is part of the wide-ranging revenue bill currently going through the Legislature, would increase the tax credit rate for restoring historic buildings from 10 percent to 25 percent of the total cost of renovations.

The measure also includes a tax credit cap of $3.75 million for each building.

The credit is available for residential and non-residential buildings statewide that are defined as certified historic structures.

Officials statewide have advocated for the change, saying it could encourage developers to revive historic buildings that remain empty.

Read the full story at

The Intelligencer: Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bath Water


By The Intelligencer

Here in the Mountain State, we have a saying relevant to what could happen to a proposal that is important for Wheeling and several other communities in West Virginia: Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

In other words, don’t let a good idea die just because it is embroiled in a bad one.

One avenue of development in older communities such as ours is redeveloping old buildings that are attractive because of their architecture. In Wheeling, that involves dozens of Victorian-era structures.

A state tax credit exists to encourage developers to renovate and repurpose such buildings — but some adjacent states have much higher credits. It was suggested earlier this year that legislators increase the West Virginia credit to make redevelopment here more attractive.

Lawmakers seem receptive to the idea, but it fell through one of those cracks that swallow up so many pieces of worthwhile legislation. It was given a second chance at life when Gov. Jim Justice and state senators included it in a comprehensive tax policy bill.

Read the full editorial at

The Herald-Dispatch: Historic Tax Credit in Play During Special Session


The Herald-Dispatch Photo Archive

By Lacie Pierson / The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON – Although it seemed to die quietly at the end of the regular legislative session, a measure to increase the rate of tax credits available to developers restoring historic buildings remains alive in the special session of the West Virginia Legislature.

While lawmakers took a break from legislating last week amid negotiations for the state’s 2018 budget, the tax credit proposal became a little-noticed part of the special session call from Gov. Jim Justice. But it is a measure proponents contend could spawn development throughout the state at what appears to be little cost to the state. Officials in Huntington have advocated for the change, saying a bigger tax credit could spark renovation of currently little-used buildings in the downtown.

Currently, those who do construction work restoring historic buildings receive a tax credit of 10 percent of the total cost of working on the building.

Under a measure that was part of the tax revenue bills in the Senate and the House of Delegates two weeks ago, the tax credit rate would be increased to 25 percent of the total cost of the project. The measure also included a tax credit cap of $3.75 million per building.

Read the full story at

The Exponent Telegram: Shinnston City Council Supports Historic Tax Credit Increase


By Kirsten Reneau / The Exponent Telegram

Council members also unanimously approved a resolution in support of increasing the West Virginia Historic Tax Credit. Kovalck explained that in West Virginia there is a 10 percent tax credit if an individual or business takes on a historic building and rehabilitates it for another use.

“All our surrounding states have 25 percent tax credit to do the same thing, so developers would get a better tax break going to Ohio or Virginia to go revamp and build, and we want to support West Virginia to give it some competition with surrounding states,” Kovalck said. “A lot of our downtown, older buildings, we’re always talking about demolition, and anything we can do to combat that will be positive for the state and individual community.”

Read the full story at