Historic Preservation Tax Credits
Help Protect Wisconsin’s Preservation Tax Credits
ACTION ALERT: The Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance will soon be voting on whether to adopt, reject or modify the proposed cap.
Take Action NOW!
Take Action NOW!
- Contact your own legislators now. Visit this special web page, which includes info on how to look up your state representative and senator and a sample letter.
- Contact the members of the Joint Finance Committee today. This committee will soon be voting on whether to adopt, reject or modify the proposed cap. Here are their email addresses and more info.
State Budget Proposal Sets Limits on Historic Tax Credits
Cap Would Reduce Number Of Rehabilitations In State
Governor Walker’s proposed 2015-’17 budget that would curtail the state’s successful historic tax credit program for historic income-producing properties. If the proposal is approved, the number of completed historic rehabilitation projects over the next two years is expected to drop significantly.
We are pleased the governor recommends keeping state historic tax credits at the recently enhanced rate of 20% of state income tax liability. The 20% level is competitive with other states and helps Wisconsin retain historic rehabilitation development jobs and dollars. Preservationists, property owners and developers are, however, deeply concerned about other changes to the program in the proposed budget.
Under the governor’s budget proposal, the state historic tax credit program would have, for the first time, an aggregate cap. The recommended cap of $10 million a year for the entire program removes the competitive edge that Wisconsin legislators worked to enact a little more than a year ago. Of the 34 states with historic tax credit programs, most have higher overall caps or no caps at all. In the Midwest, for example, the average overall cap is more than $52 million a year.
By reducing the amount of available credits, the $10 million cap would limit the number of projects receiving “but for” financing and result in communities throughout Wisconsin losing millions of dollars of publicly-leveraged private investment. Analysis of the demand for historic rehabilitation work over the past several years indicates there is far greater demand than the proposed cap allows.
Marshfield’s Parkin Ice Cream Co., built in 1941-’45, was sold by the original owners in 1966, and the buidling eventually fell into disrepair. Today, it houses the Blue Heron BrewPub and West 14th Restaurant, thanks to a renovation that relied on $234,072 in federal credits and $58,518 in state credits.
Under the Governor’s budget proposal, credits would be awarded on a competitive basis with several challenging criteria, including job creation projections and a credit recapture provision if a project’s job creation estimates are not accurate. While we firmly support job creation, and rehabilitated historic properties create jobs, there are other important economic factors to historic rehabilitation that ought to be considered – like new development, a broader tax base, increased property values, revitalized neighborhoods and preservation of Wisconsin’s heritage. If the Governor’s proposed provisions are put in place, the program will lack the stability and predictability to draw capital investment into our communities.
We expect our legislators will make critical decisions about the historic tax credit program over the next few months. We will be monitoring the legislative process closely.
What can you do?
- Email us today to:
- Ask your organization to sign up in support of the Wisconsin Historic Tax Credit Alliance
- Receive our Wisconsin Historic Tax Credit Alliance Project email updates if you’re not on our list.