Call to action to save an economic engine

The federal Historic Tax Credit, is on the chopping block, yet that might not make economic sense, according to the Rutgers Univesity’s Annual Report on the Economic Impact of Historic Tax Credit for FY 2015.

Those seeking to rally opposition include Debbie Sheals, a local preservation consultant, and state and national nonprofits, Missouri Preservation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Historic Tax Credit Coalition.

Here’s how you can get involved if you’re ready to take action:

Here’s a call to action from two nonprofits, the National Trust Community Investment Corp. and Missouri Preservation, headquartered in St. Louis. Here’s a factsheet, too.

Here’s a factsheet from the Historic Tax Credit Coalition and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

How do I know this isn’t fake news?

Why should you believe the Federal Historic Tax Credit is an economic engine?

Thinking critically and demanding proof is part of my job as a journalist. I look for information that comes from agencies and organizations that have “no dog in the fight,” — impartial researchers.

In this case, the research was done by Rutgers University in New Jersey. The university in New Brunswick, New Jersey, is employed by the National Park Service, and the university is independent of the National Park Service and won’t benefit from the results.

In addition, Rutgers is a valid research organization. It isn’t simply a back room in a foreign country.

What the report shows

In Fiscal Year 2015, the report shows, the Federal HTC $5 billion in spending yielded $4.8 billion in Gross Domestic Product. Yes, that’s a loss. But looking at the tax credit from its inception, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, the program has cost $120.8 billion but yielded $134.7 in GDP.

The report also notes that 55% of the certified rehabilitation projects in FY 2015 were located in low and moderate income census tracks.

Take a look at the report: Rutgers Univesity’s Annual Report on the Economic Impact of Historic Tax Credit for FY 2015.

Local example

In journalism, news values include proximity. We humans seem to care more about what’s near us or who we know.

Here is a link to an article I wrote in 2010 about the renovation — and tax credits for the project — of the Nowell building on Walnut Street by John Ott. He states clearly that projects like this depend on tax credits, yet those same tax credits hardly make him wealthy, he said. The tax credits make renovations economically possible.

Here’s more information about the article I wrote that was published in the Columbia Business Times.

Notable Properties: Historic Renovation Boosts Community Commerce — What if historic renovation made economic sense? Many say it does including Richard King, who operates The Blue Note, a thriving live music venue housed in the first building named to the Notable Properties List by the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission. The article can also be viewed on the Columbia Business Times website.

But don’t take my word for it — think critically and demand proof — and feel free to do your own research. And let me know what you learn. As a journalist, I can never have too much information.

A new use for historic buildings

Historic buildings need to be put to work to save them, and sometimes that means finding a new use for the building. For example, historic homes with too much space for today’s smaller families are sometimes reused as bed and breakfasts — or an old historic building could be renovated to become housing for artists.

That’s what this proposal in Kansas City calls for, turning historic buildings in downtown Kansas City into apartment for low-income people, with a special target of struggling artists. The developer George Sherman plans to seek affordable tax credits, state and federal historic tax credits. In the case of state tax credits, these are not give aways. The developer will have to put money into the project and have the work done according to historical standards before he will be eligible for tax credits on taxes paid, not funding for the project itself.

What buildings in Columbia do you think could be renovated into apartments for affordable housing? What buildings have you seen given a new use? What’s your favorite re-purposed historic building in Columbia?

 

Learn about historic preservation Sept. 18-20, 2013 in Boonville at the 2013 Missouri Preservation Conference

This year’s Missouri Preservation Conference will be held Sept. 18-20, 2013 in Boonville at the Isle of Capri Hotel and Conference Center.

This is a great opportunity for mid-Missouri, as last year’s conference was held further away, in St. Louis County.

A short distance from Columbia, the conference in Boonville will offer educational sessions, technical workshops, trade show exhibits,, tours and networking receptions, according to the Save the Date postcard from the Missouri Preservation, a nonprofit dedicated to education, advocacy and assistance to preserve Missouri’s history.

The announcement states rooms are limited at the convention locations, Historic Hotel Frederick, Isle of Capri Hotel and the Comfort Inn. For information on the event, contact Missouri Preservation at preservemo10@yahoo.com or call 660.882.5946.