2017-11-10 / On Second Thought

Historic tax credit under threat of elimination

Contributed by Lois Carlisle

Elimination of the Historic Tax Credit will have a huge negative impact on the rehabilitation of historic properties in South Carolina. Elimination of the Historic Tax Credit will have a huge negative impact on the rehabilitation of historic properties in South Carolina. What do Lula Drake, the South Carolina State Museum, Olympia and Granby Mills, the Kress Building, the Curtiss- Wright Hangar, and the Palmetto Compress Warehouse have in common? They were all once misused structures, now successfully restored.

Each one shines amongst the historical gems in our state capital. To achieve this, their owners made use of historic tax credits, without which it is unlikely these buildings would be the standard setters for preservation that they are today.

The Tax Reform Bill introduced in the House of Representatives on November 2 eliminates the Historic Tax Credit. This is a drastic proposal that will have a huge negative impact on the rehabilitation of historic properties in South Carolina and across the country. The Historic Tax Credit (HTC) is one of the most powerful tools employed by both the preservation and development communities. As an acknowledgement of the costs to rehabilitate historic properties, the HTC provides a 20 percent tax credit for eligible costs of rehabilitating historic properties. Many states, including South Carolina, provide additional state tax credits that add to the HTC to make otherwise uneconomic historic redevelopment projects feasible. The credits offset the higher costs involved in rehabilitating historic properties.

Since its inception in 1978, the HTC has resulted in the preservation of more than 42,000 buildings and generated over $84 billion in economic development nationwide. The HTC encourages private investment in the rehabilitation of historic buildings. More than $131 billion of private capital has been invested to revitalize often abandoned and underperforming properties across the United States.

Many Columbia landmarks have benefited from the HTC including the Tapp’s Building, Olympia and Granby Mills, the Kress, Dupre and Barringer Buildings, and the Canal Dime Savings Bank. Should the HTC be eliminated, Columbia and the entire country will lose a valuable tool for the revitalization of its architectural legacy.

Despite its proven track record of stimulating economic growth and preserving Columbia’s architectural heritage, the HTC faces an uncertain future. Historic Columbia invites you to please contact your Representative and tell them you oppose elimination of the Historic Tax Credit, and you will be watching their vote on this important issue. For more information (including talking points) on the HTC, please visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation website at saving places.org/historic-tax -credits and consider completing their form letter.

In Columbia, we are represented by Congressmen Jim Clyburn and Congressman Joe Wilson. You can find your House member at www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

• Congressman Jim Clyburn—Chief of Staff: yebbie.watkins@mail.house.gov; legislative staff: craig.link@mail.house.gov

• Congressman Joe Wilson—Chief of Staff: jonathan.day@mail.house.gov; legislative director: taylor.andreae@mail.house.gov; legislative staff matt.blackwell@mail.house.gov

It is also not too early to contact Senator Graham and Senator Scott.

• Senator Tim Scott—Chief of Staff: jennifer_decasper@scott.senate.gov; legislative director: charles_cogar@scott.senate.gov; tax legislative asst: shay_hawkins@scott.senate.gov

• Senator Lindsay Graham—Chief of Staff: Richard_perry@lgraham.senate.gov; legislative director: matt_rimkunas@lgraham.senate.gov; tax legislative asst: nick_myers@lgraham.senate.gov.

Taking action won’t take long and is important for building the groundswell we will need to save the Historic Tax Credit.

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