November 3, 2017
Dear Members of the House Ways and Means Committee,
The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks requests your help in ensuring that the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program is retained in a reformed tax code when Congress considers H.R. 1, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. The introduced bill fails to include this vital federal tax incentive – a proven tool that creates local jobs, preserves historic buildings and returns more to the Treasury than it costs.
The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks includes over 1,400 current, former, and retired employees of the National Park Service with nearly 35,000 years of stewardship of America’s most precious natural and cultural resources. The Coalition counts among its members former National Park Service directors, deputy directors, regional directors, superintendents, park rangers (law enforcement and interpretive), maintenance professionals, administrative professionals and an array of other career professionals who devoted an average of nearly 30 years each to protecting, interpreting and maintaining America’s national parks on behalf of the public.
Since its inclusion in the tax code more than 35 years ago, the historic tax credit (HTC) is a widely used redevelopment tool for underutilized historic properties. In fact, since its inception in 1976, the credit has leveraged more than $84 billion in private investment, created more than 2.4 million jobs, and preserved more than 42,000 historic buildings.
The National Park Service, in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service, has played a key role in administering the credit and assuring that it is used fairly, and in keeping with the rehabilitation standards established by the Secretary of the Interior.
We have seen firsthand the renewal of historic buildings in cities like Lowell, Massachusetts; St. Louis, Missouri; Shreveport, Louisiana; Boston, Massachusetts; and Cleveland, Ohio. We have seen abandoned warehouses turned into condominiums for the elderly, factories developed into office space and train stations transformed into vibrant hotels and restaurants.
Over the course of its history, the HTC has returned an average of $1.20 to the Treasury for every credit dollar allocated, with an overall credit to the Federal government of 5 billion dollars. This credit remains a tool that helps to maintain the vitality and character of many communities across the country.
As you consider H.R. 1, we strongly urge you to include the continuation of the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program in the bill.
Maureen Finnerty, Chair
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks