In 1981, President Reagan introduced a program called the Historic Tax Credit to provide tax relief to those working to restore historic buildings. We do need serious tax reform –- probably a lot more than we’re going to get, but I digress –- but the National Trust for Historic Preservation is concerned that during the inevitable “sausage-making” that goes into creating new legislation, this tax credit may go away, endangering the thousands of historic buildings that, without tax incentive, might quickly fall to the wrecking ball.
In their words, the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) is “the most significant investment the federal government makes towards the preservation of our historic buildings.”
Even though preservation has been shown to revitalize communities and stimulate economic growth, several tax reform proposals recommend doing away with the tax credit. It’s easy, almost reflexive, for us as conservatives to think, “Well, we need to simplify the tax code, and this probably costs us some money, so let’s just get rid of it.” But in this case, the NTHP can show that for every dollar lost to the tax cut, the government ends up receiving $1.20 - $1.25 in additional revenue. So it’s definitely pro-growth.
As someone who comes from the world of real estate, President Trump should know that attracting investment to the historic Main Streets across our land –- in big cities like New York and small towns like Hope, Arkansas, and maybe your home town –- creates jobs, enhances property values, improves quality of life for all and generates tax revenue at all levels.
And especially now, with our history and culture being deliberately edited and relics of our past being being taken away because some people don’t want us exposed to them, it’s time to do what we can to preserve what is still left.
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