In late June, Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Senate version of the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act (HTC-GO), S. 2266. Like the House version of HTC-GO (H.R. 2294), which presently has more than 60 co-sponsors, the Senate bill will bring more value to Historic Tax Credit (HTC) projects, improve access to the credit, and encourage investment in smaller rehabilitation projects. The Senate bill, however, differs from the House version in that it does not include a temporary increase in the HTC from 20%-30% to address pandemic-related challenges. We anticipate that Senator Cardin will introduce this temporary provision as a separate bill in the near future.
Key Provisions of House and Senate HTC-GO Legislation
Both versions of the HTC bill contain the following permanent provisions:
- Increases the credit from 20% to 30% for projects with less than $2.5 million in qualified rehabilitation expenses, making it easier to complete small rehabilitation projects;
- Lowers the substantial rehabilitation threshold, making more buildings eligible to use the HTC;
- Eliminates the requirement that the value of the HTC must be deducted from a building’s basis (property’s value for tax purposes), which would increase the value of the HTC and make it easier to pair with the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit ;
- Eliminates several IRS restrictions that deal with tax exempt leasing that currently make it difficult for non-profit organizations, community health centers, local art centers, affordable housing entities, and homeless services to partner with developers to complete historic rehabilitation projects.
Inclusion of HTC-GO Provisions in Infrastructure Legislation
President Biden recently hailed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan agreement on an infrastructure bill with a group of 21 bipartisan Senators, including HTC champions Senators Cassidy and Collins.
Once more specific aspects of the bipartisan infrastructure bill take shape, a vote on this significant legislation could occur this fall or by year-end. HTC advocates should be especially encouraged that during the 116th Congress, the House included HTC-GO provisions (both temporary and permanent) in infrastructure legislation (H.R. 2) that passed the chamber last year.
We urge all supporters of the HTC to reach out to your Congressional delegation and urge their support of both the HTC-GO legislation as well as its inclusion in emerging infrastructure legislation.
Contact Your Senators
There are a few different ways you can reach out to your Senators.
- Fill out this advocacy alert on SavingPlaces.org.
- Call Your Senators Directly: To locate the names, phone numbers and websites of your Senators via the Senate website or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121 and asked to be connected to your or Senator’s DC office. Once connected ask to speak to the Member’s staff or staffer that handle tax issues.
- You can also communicate on the Member’s website: Send a message to your Senators through their website and select “tax” or “taxation” as the issue area using the talking points above. Please share the Senate as a link or attachment
Talking Points for Conversations with your Senators
- Introduce yourself as a constituent.
- “Now is the time to strengthen this proven incentive to address the slowdown in rehabilitation projects across the country, particularly smaller projects in our main street communities and downtowns.”
- “Would the Senator please cosponsor S. 2266-The Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act (HTC-GO) sponsored by Senators Cardin/Cassidy/Cantwell/Collins?”
- Explain how enacting these provisions would benefit your community.
- “These provisions were included and passed in the House Infrastructure bill (HR 2) in July 2020. Please prioritize the HTC-GO legislation as you work to pass infrastructure legislation..”
Additional Resources for your Hill Communications
Please share responses from Senate offices and gain assistance with your advocacy by emailing:
Carl Wolf is a policy advisor in the government relations department of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.