Call to Action: Urgent Advocacy Needed, Historic Tax Credit in Danger of Repeal in Tax Reform

By Shaw Sprague posted 12-12-2016 16:07

  

Note: Read the updated call to action from January 2017.

President-elect Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan have prioritized moving tax reform legislation forward in the first 100 days of the next Congress, which begins in January. A tax reform package could move quickly through Congress by way of the budget reconciliation process, which only requires a simple majority for passage in the Senate, instead of the 60 votes typically needed to cut off debate.

Republican Ways and Means Committee members will be meeting on December 15–16 to agree on big-picture elements of tax reform, with the goal of having a draft bill to review in early January.

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Credit: Architect of the Capitol

We expect tax reform legislation will follow Speaker Ryan’s “A Better Way” blue print, released earlier this year. This document recommends eliminating tax credits and deductions, which would include the Historic Tax Credit (HTC), the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC).

The HTC is in grave danger of elimination in tax reform, and HTC advocacy is urgently needed, both in the near term and throughout 2017. The HTC is the most significant federal financial commitment to historic preservation. Over the last 36 years, the credit has created 2.3 million jobs, leveraged $117 billion in investment, and rehabilitated more than 41,250 buildings—all while generating enough in federal revenue to pay for itself.

The Historic Tax Credit Coalition, National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Trust Community Investment Corporation, and allied organizations are moving quickly to increase lobbying capacity. However, there is no substitute for the advocacy that you can provide at the state and local level. Your assistance is critical!

We are hopeful that, if a sufficient number of senators and representatives convey their support for the HTC to party leadership and to members of the tax-writing committees, the HTC can be retained as an important part of a reformed tax code.

Requested Action

  1. Contact House members ASAP. Call or email the offices of your House members by December 14, and ask to speak with tax staff or staff contacts you have in these offices.
    1. If your representatives are on the House Ways and Means Committee, urge that they please convey their “support of the Historic Tax Credit now that the drafting process for tax reform legislation is underway.” We’ve prepared a sample message you may customize and easily send to their offices.
    2. If your representatives are not on the Ways and Means Committee, ask that they “please contact Chairman Kevin Brady and other members of the House Ways and Means Committee to explicitly convey support for the Historic Tax Credit as the tax reform drafting process gets underway.”
  2. Host in-district meetings in December and beyond. Advocates are encouraged to host in-district/state meetings while Congress is in recess. Contact congressional offices, and ask about scheduling time with House and Senate members. If you have an opportunity, combine your meeting with a tour of a completed or potential HTC project. If members of Congress are unavailable, there is still significant value to meeting with local staff. These meetings should be coordinated among local preservationists, developers, architects, mayors, Main Street organizations, and others in order to convey that the HTC program impacts many constituent groups.
  1. Lobby in D.C. in 2017. Come to Washington, D.C., and lobby on behalf of the HTC on Preservation Lobby Day, March 14–16, or any time in 2017 that fits your schedule. Campaign staff are ready to help plan your visit. Please contact Mike Phillips (mphillips@ntcic.com), Shaw Sprague (ssprague@savingplaces.org), or Renee Kuhlman (rkuhlman@savingplaces.org), who can help you organize a D.C. visit and set up meetings with congressional offices.

The Ask

Please ask your members of Congress to support the HTC as part of tax reform legislation that is expected to move through Congress next year. Explain the value of the HTC, describe rehabilitation success stories, and ask your members of Congress to convey their support to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

Resources

  1. HTC fact sheet featuring key points to share with legislators.
  2. HTC maps
  3. HTC Media Toolkit
  4. House Ways and Means Committee
  5. Senate Finance Committee

Note: Listen to a clip from a recent webinar about new tools for the new administration.

How to Contact Your Members of Congress

  1. To locate the name and phone number of your House representative visit the house directory.
  2. To locate the names and phone number of your senators, go to the senate directory.
  3. Alternatively, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121 and ask to be connected to your senators' or House members' D.C. offices. Once connected to the office, you should identify yourself as a constituent and either ask to be connected with tax staff or ask for the email of tax staff to communicate your advocacy. Make sure to follow up on your request.

Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act

The Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act (HTCIA) provides several reform options to enhance the HTC as part of a reformed tax code. While the opportunity to co-sponsor this bill has passed, the legislation reflects the reform ideas that have broad political support and could be included in a tax reform package.

  • The House version of the bill (H.R. 3846) has attracted strong bipartisan support on the Ways and Means Committee and is presently supported by 53 members of Congress.
  • The Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and introduced last March, has seven bipartisan co-sponsors.

Campaign Staff

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the campaign staff:


Shaw Sprague is the director for Government Relations and Policy at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

#Lobbying #FederalHistoricTaxCredit #Economics #historictaxcredit #Advocacy

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