Historic Preservation Grants Program in Pennsylvania


Highest on our list of initiatives that advance community revitalization was final passage of historic preservation incentives this spring. We saw widespread support  for the tax credits and grant programs enabled by House Bill HB 221 (PN 4000), the Historic Preservation Incentive Program, introduced by Rep. Tom Tangretti. Ultimately, though, the bill was not considered by the full Senate, and the $15 million requested for the program was not included in the 2008-09 budget.   

We continue to fight for a revenue source for this program, and will work on passage of the enabling legislation through the Senate this fall. The bill (which has already passed the House unanimously) would spur community revitalization by helping to fill the financing gap for the restoration of historic buildings in economically challenged neighborhoods, and serve as a catalyst for more investment in a community. Please keep alert to our messages requesting your help. Click here for 10,000 Friends' letter to leadership in support of the bill.  

STATUS OF THE LEGISLATION:   HB 221 (PN 4000) was passed unanimously by the House and is now in the Senate. It just passed through the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, and is now headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee. It must pass through that Committee before it can be considered by the full Senate.      HB 221 (Tangretti) passed the House unanimously in July, and now has been voted as amended out of the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee.    

GOALS OF THE LEGISLATION:   The bill provides incentives to buyers and sellers of historic homes, homes in historic neighborhoods, or commercial properties in downtown areas when they are refurbished and used again.   -- The residential program provides grants, with a maximum of $15,000 per project.   -- The commercial component is a tax credit for qualified commercial properties, with a maximum of $500,000 per project per year.    

FUNDING NEED:   The funding need is for a total of $15 million ($5 million for the residential grants, and $10 million in tax credits for the commercial properties). We are requesting that the Governor and the Legislature agree on this line item as part of the 2008-09 budget. The budget is currently under negotiations, and due July 1, 2008.    

VALUE OF THE LEGISLATION:   -- Preserves the heritage of Pennsylvania in both the commercial and residential building sectors.   -- Offers true economic value through private investment in reusing historic buildings.   -- Because it sets a priority for Main Street and Elm Street programs, helps to revitalize communities, reduce blight, increase property values and tax revenues, and add new jobs to downtown business districts.   -- Could be combined with an existing federal credit to create an even greater incentive to rehab. Additionally, federal rehab credits can be combined with other incentive programs, such as the low-income housing credit and the New Markets Tax Credit, to being even more value to preservation.   -- Indicates that Pennsylvania is genuinely committed to the preservation of its architectural legacy for future generations, and puts Pennsylvania in line with the 28 other states in the nation that have historic tax credits.  

Background: For several years, through the leadership of Representatives Tom Tangretti, Dan Frankel, Dave Argall and Tom Killion, Senator Jeffrey Piccola and Governor Ed Rendell, interest has been building to pass legislation for Pennsylvania. Click here for a summary of the bill and the approved amendment, prepared by the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee.