DON’T LET A DECADE OF SUCCESS BE TOSSED IN THE TRASH BIN!

Black Thursday:

 On Thursday, April 28, at approximately 3:00 PM, the Michigan House of Representatives completed its work on the tax package that replaces the Michigan Business Tax with a Corporate Income Tax.  Included was legislation that eliminated the Historic Tax Credit (HTC).  It passed, and our state’s new Corporate Income Tax structure took a step closer to becoming a crushing reality for historic preservation.

At 3:00 PM in the House chambers of the Capitol, our extraordinarily successful Historic Tax Credit program was thrown in the trash bin by our elected officials.  As if the HTC were inconsequential, they waved aside over a decade of success…

 For historic commercial buildings, we have been TELLING our Legislators that:

  • The HTC has leveraged $1.46 billion in direct rehabilitation activity and created 36,000 jobs since its enactment in 1999.
  • Each $1.0 of credit issued leverages $11.37 in direct economic impact.
  • The HTC has leveraged $251 million in Federal historic tax credits.  These are federal dollars coming back into Michigan’s economy!
  • The Michigan HTC makes projects feasible when others have given up. It puts underutilized and core urban real estate back on local and state tax rolls. The HTC fills a gap not addressed by any other type of rehabilitation financing.

Because our Legislators dismissed these facts, projects like these will not be possible in the future!

  • Westin Book Cadillac Hotel – Detroit
  • American Seating Factory – Grand Rapids
  • City Opera House – Traverse City
  • Durant Hotel – Flint
  • Adams/Masonic Bldg – Sault Ste. Marie
  • Murphy Block – Calumet
  • Fidelity Building – Benton Harbor
  • Ottawa Street Power Station – Lansing

 And for historic residential buildings, we have been TELLING our Legislators that:

  • Since 1999, hundreds of homeowners statewide have improved their historic homes, enabled by this credit.
  • Use of the credits has stimulated $34 million in direct rehabilitation activity.
  • These homeowner investments have stimulated economic activity, stabilized city neighborhoods, sustained walkable, authentic places, put existing infrastructure to good use, grown local tax bases, and supported smart growth and land conservation.

 Because our Legislators dismissed these facts, community investment like this will be lost in the future!

 Ann Arbor:  $1,407,716                    Kalamazoo:  $3,480,000

Calumet:  $144,345                          Midland: $337,000

Detroit:  $20,062,000                       Lansing/E. Lansing:  $697,067

Flint:  $196,000                                 Lathrup Village:  $203,752

Grand Rapids:  $ 4,507,000            Pleasant Ridge:  $314,600

Holland:  $1,429,546                        Romeo: $140,985

Huntington Woods:  $358,000         Ypsilanti: $140,985

Don’t allow yourself to feel as if nothing can be done –

E-MAIL YOUR LETTER… OR BETTER YET, PHONE…THIS WEEK!

We must now turn our attention to the Senate that will be looking at an appropriation this week.  Using the sample letter at the close of this e-blast, tell your Senator that you would most prefer the Historic Tax Credit Program to remain as it is.  There is nothing broken about the HTC.  Don’t fix it!

In the same letter, however, express your thoughts about an appropriation.  Ask your Senator to push for a larger appropriated fund than is proposed to replace the Historic Preservation, Brownfield, and Mega Tax Credits as well as other programs.  Currently, the appropriations bills HB 4526 and SB 177 have only $25 million in them.  Clearly this is way too small to fulfill the needs of all these programs.  Even the Governor was aware of this, originally proposing $50 million and stating that wasn’t even enough!

Like the tax bills, these appropriations bills are going to move quickly this week.  So use your e-mailed letter or phone call to tell both your Representative and Senator that a $25 million fund to replace the original credits is inadequate and that an appropriation for the Historic Preservation and Brownfield Tax Credits themselves must be larger. To determine the Representative and Senator who represent you, or get their contact information, go here:

http://www.house.mi.gov/mhrpublic/

http://www.senate.michigan.gov/FindYourSenator/byaddress.htm

To help you compose your letter or e-mail, or to script your phone call, here is a sample text for you to use:

Date:

The Honorable (name)

(Michigan House of Representatives) or (Michigan Senate)

(email address) or (address)

Dear (Representative) or (Senator) _____________:

The proposed elimination of the Historic Preservation and Brownfield tax credits is one more devastating blow to my community, the City of _____.  I would like to have the Historic Tax Credit Program remain as it is.  Here’s why.

(Choose A or B, or write a paragraph yourself…)

(A – If your community uses the credits…)

The HTCs are the only economic incentives of their kind, anywhere in the state, available to those who rehabilitate their property in the City of _____’s historic districts.  Those investments have contributed to the stability of my community and since 1999 have resulted in the rehabilitation of (use a couple of examples – i.e. large to small, residential or commercial, etc.  Provide their addresses.)

(B – Or if your community has preservation activities just getting underway and has not yet used the HTCs…)

The HTCs are the only economic incentives of their kind, anywhere in the state, available to those who rehabilitate historic properties in the City of _____ and contribute to the stability of my community.  While our historic district efforts are just getting underway, and property owners have not yet had sufficient time to utilize the HTCs, the commitment shown by my neighbors and I came in part from knowing the State of Michigan believed enough in our efforts to provide the HTCs, and is our partner in conserving what is best about our town.

If the Historic Tax Credit is to be replaced, then I believe that the proposed replacement program offered by Governor Rick Snyder is not adequately funded.  The appropriations bills HB 4526 and SB 177 have only $25 million in them.  Clearly this is way too small to fulfill the needs.  Even the Governor was aware of this, originally proposing $50 million and stating that wasn’t enough!  In a March 26, Detroit News story, the Governor stated this again, and yet the total was reduced by the Legislature in the Appropriations process.

Michigan’s HTC is one of the state’s most useful tools for revitalizing older communities. They make rehabilitation projects possible, and those projects drive economic growth in Michigan. They add jobs and revenue to our economy, value to our communities, and enhance our quality of life. They help make their communities great places to live, work, and visit. Our dollar-stretched communities cannot afford to lose these credits.

Please either add these credits back or fund the appropriation at a much higher level.  Without doing one of these, you will kill this important program.

Thank you.

Respectfully,

Name

address (you must complete this information when mailing or emailing)

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