Advocacy Alerts


Companies, organizations and municipalities are asked to demonstrate support of HR 3846 Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act by signing on to a letter being prepared by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Will you lend your support? More information and the letter text is below. Please email Carl Wolf at to add your business or organization to the list of supporters by noon on Wednesday, May 25
If you're an individual and want to take action, we encourage you to take a photo of your historic Main Street and tweet @MikeKellyPA with #HR3846 -- let's see if we can get this bill trending with images of downtowns that will benefit from the legislation!
Let's show that Pennsylvania cares about historic preservation!


Dear Friends and Supporters of the Federal Historic Tax Credit,

On May 12, 2016, House Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany (R-LA) convened a “Member Day” hearing to receive testimony from his Congressional colleagues about their legislative priorities for comprehensive tax reform. With nearly 50 Members of Congress in attendance, the hearing provided an opportunity for House members to encourage support for legislative priorities impacting tax credits, deductions, and rates.

Support for the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 3846) was explicitly stated by Chairman Boustany (R-LA), Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA), and H.R. 3846 sponsor, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA). Six other Members of Congress indicated their intent to submit a statement for the hearing record in support of the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act. The official record will remain open for the public to offer testimony until May 26th.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Historic Tax Credit Coalition are circulating a sign-on letter until 12:00pm on May 25th to demonstrate the broad support for the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act in our historic cities and towns. Listing your business or organization on the letter will greatly assist efforts to build political support for this critical preservation program.

Below is a summary of the Comment Letter that will be sent to the Ways and Means Committee. Please email Carl Wolf at to add your business or organization to the list of supporters.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via email or by dialing 202-588-6339.

Thanks for your support.

Best regards,

Shaw Sprague

P. 202.588.6339 C. 202.372.6415
The Watergate Office Building
2600 Virginia Avenue NW Suite 1000 Washington, DC 20037

Text of Comment Letter

Dear Chairman Boustany and Ranking Member Neal:

We, the undersigned businesses and organizations, appreciate the opportunity presented by the House Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee to comment on specific ways to improve the U.S. tax system. Accordingly, we want to emphasize the positive economic and social benefits the federal historic tax credit provides communities throughout the country and how, after more than three decades of successful operation, this program could function even more efficiently and assist more of our struggling Main Street communities.

As you consider ways to improve the U.S. tax system, we urge you to adopt the policy recommendations contained in the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act, H.R.3846. This legislation, introduced by Representatives Mike Kelly and Earl Blumenauer, offers common sense reforms to the current program that will encourage greater building reuse and redevelopment in small, midsize, and rural communities. It also makes the rehabilitation of community-driven projects like theaters, libraries, and schools easier to accomplish. The bill would also create efficiencies by updating program requirements to reflect current industry practices.

The Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act offers a smart, sustainable approach to many of the challenges our smaller, Main Street communities currently face. By focusing enhanced support to projects with qualified rehabilitation expenses of less than $2.5 million, the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act would address many of the economic issues facing our smaller, Main Street communities. These issues include the lack of private sector investment, filling downtown storefronts, creating better housing opportunities, and preserving each community’s unique historic character.

The federal historic tax credit is the cornerstone of rehabilitation projects throughout the country and represents the most significant investment the federal government makes in historic preservation. Research conducted for the National Park Service by the Rutgers Center for Urban Policy Research documents that since enactment of the historic tax credit in 1981, the credit has leveraged $117.6 billion in private investment in historic rehabilitation, created nearly 2.3 million jobs, and rehabilitated more than 41,250 historic buildings. This research also shows a positive return on investment - over the credit’s 34 year history, the federal government allocated just over $23.1 billion in historic tax credits, but it has collected $28.1 billion in federal tax revenue generated from these repurposed, rehabilitated and economically productive historic properties.

Retention of the federal historic tax credit is important given the significant amount of rehabilitation work that remains, particularly in our smaller Main Street communities. While the HTC has made enormous strides rehabilitating anchor properties that led to the revitalization of entire commercial submarkets, tens of thousands of historic buildings remain vacant and under-utilized. These buildings are rich in architectural heritage but continue to exert blighting influences on the surrounding community. With conventional loans for historic property transactions averaging only 65 percent of total project cost, historic rehabilitation projects are simply not economically feasible without federal incentives.

As the House Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee continues its work to develop a blueprint for tax reform, we ask that you protect and enhance the federal historic tax credit program that effectively utilizes our nation’s past to meet the needs of today’s economy.


State Historic Tax Credit Established in Pennsylvania   Click here for information!
On July 2, 2012,  Pennsylvania became the 30th state in the country to offer a state historic tax credit when Governor Tom Corbett signed HB 761 (an amendment to the Tax Reform Code) and enacted Act 85  (See page 103) that established the Historic Preservation Incentive Act.  This tax credit will be a companion to the very successful tax credit program. 

Preservation Pennsylvania thanks the General Assembly for the establishment of this program that will offer a 25% state tax credit for the rehabilitation of qualified income-producing buildings that are also using the federal tax credit. By leveraging the existing 20% federal tax credit with an additional 25% state credit, the program will help lure investment into Pennsylvania. Data show that states with state credits tend to have an advantage over states that do not have tax credits in attracting investment in historic rehabilitation.
Credit for moving this effort forward goes to Senator Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster, who introduced the legislation and continued championing for it throughout budget negotiations.  Representative Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, advocated for this legislation in the House and helped to move it to the finish line.  In the end, this program was estabished as part of the Commonwealth Budget in the Tax Reform Code.  

Efforts to establish this credit in Pennsylvania began in 1996 under the leadership of former State Representative Tom Tangretti, D-Westmoreland, who worked for the passage of this program until his retirement in 2008. Many groups and individuals worked to advocate for the passage of this program during the last 16 years. We thank each and every one of you for your efforts. 
What’s Next?  The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Department of Economic and Community Development will develop the program guidelines. The credit goes into effect July 1, 2013.  Just like the federal program, this credit is issued after the project is completed. To start, the program is limited to $3 million annually with an individual project cap of $500,000. 
Keystone Recreation and Conservation Funds Saved!

Preservation Pennsylvania is pleased to be part of the Renew Growing Greener Coalition who worked tirelessly to save vital funding that was proposed for elimination in the FY 2013 Commonwealth Budget.   See their press release below:

Renew Growing Greener Coalition Applauds Restoration of Recreation and Conservation Funding

(HARRISBURG, PA) The Renew Growing Greener Coalition, the largest coalition of conservation, recreation and preservation organizations in the Commonwealth, today applauded the restoration of funding for two key programs in the 2012-13 state budget.

Andrew Heath, executive director of the Coalition, issued the following statement:

“The Coalition applauds the decision to restore funding for our parks, trails, open space, waterways and family farms and thanks our lawmakers for recognizing the importance of investing in recreation, conservation and preservation.

“Restoring funding for Keytone and farmland preservation programs will help support our local and regional economies and will protect the quality of life that makes Pennsylvania a great place to live, work and visit.

“Elimination of these programs would have threatened the very fabric of the Commonwealth and put a greater burden on our local communities.

“After working closely with members of leadership, the Coalition thanks the House, Senate and Corbett administration for making the right decision to fund Keystone and farmland preservation and looks forward to working together to identify long-term solutions to ensure these and other critical conservation programs are sustainable in the future.”

About the Renew Growing Greener Coalition The Renew Growing Greener Coalition is the largest coalition of conservation, recreation and preservation organizations in the Commonwealth. More than 244 organizations, groups and businesses have signed the Coalition’s statement of support, and nearly 150 government entities, including 37 counties, have passed resolutions calling for a dedicated source of funding for the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund.

Please visit the Legislation We Are Watching page for current information on state and federal preservation-related legislation.

For the latest developments on national issues related to historic preservation, please go to:
Preservation Action's website at

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