The new year poses new threats to historic tax credit programs, and the time to act is now.
Restoration Exchange Omaha’s Kristine Gerber said both the Federal Historic Tax Credit and the Nebraska Historic Tax Credit (NHTC) face the threat of elimination. Nationally, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee is working on legislation to propose major tax reform that would eliminate many tax credit programs. “We are hearing there is a 95% certainty that it will include the Federal Historic Tax Credit,” Gerber said. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is coordinating lobbying efforts to combat this threat.
In Nebraska, Sen. Paul Schumacher of Columbus introduced LB 475, which would eliminate the Nebraska State Historic Tax Credit (NHTC). Sen. Bob Krist of Bennington also introduced LB 467, which would suspend the NHTC for two years. The NHTC was introduced in 2015. In a study conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in one year, a $15 million dollar historic tax credit:
- Created more than 1,000 jobs
- Contributed $45 million to Nebraska’s gross state product
- Garnered $3 million in state and local taxes
“It made development of historic buildings happen,” Gerber said. “Contact your senator, and tell them to vote against the LB475 and LB467. If you don’t know who your senator is, click here to find out.”
Projects that have used historic tax credits in Nebraska range from the Bonham Theater in Fairbury, Neb., to the Burlington Station in Omaha.
Gerber urges anyone who has used the state and federal historic tax credit programs to advocate for their retention. “Legislators need to hear from constituents who have used the credits,” she said. “Share your projects. This is the most effective way to convey the benefits of these programs.”