Sec. Zinke Testifies Before Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the FY19 Budget Request
This week, the Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, testified before the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee on President Trump's FY19 budget request for the Department of the Interior. Many senators expressed concern over the funding levels included in the budget request. The hearing included discussions on how to address the more than $11 billion maintenance backlog at the National Park Service. Several senators also questioned Secretary Zinke about dramatic cuts to the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The Administration's budget request calls for substantial cuts to programs important to preservation, including a more than 50% cut the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). The request eliminates funding for HPF grant programs like the Civil Rights Grants, HBCU preservation program, and Save America's Treasures. The request also dramatically reduces funding State and Tribal Historic Preservation Programs. That said, Congress controls the purse strings and recently showed their support for the Historic Preservation Fund with the FY18 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which included $96.91 million for the HPF. In addition, just last week a group of 29 senators sent a dear colleague letter to the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee requesting $110.5 million for the HPF.
Preservation Action aims to build on the success of the FY18 Omnibus budget and looks forward to working with the House and Senate Appropriations Committees as they continue working on funding levels for FY19. You can watch the complete hearing below.
Legislation That Dramatically Undermines Missouri's Historic Tax Credit Passes State House. Senate Could Vote Soon
Legislation being considered in Missouri would be disastrous for their Historic Tax Credit program. Senate Bill 590 just passed the state House and the Senate could vote soon. The Missouri Historic Tax Credit program has had a substantial impact across the state. The program has leveraged $7 billion in private investment, created 43,000 jobs and returns $2.60 in tax revenue for every $1 invested by the state. Slashing Missouri's historic tax credit program was attempted in previous years, but supporters of the program successfully fought back those efforts.
Advocates Continue Effort to Reinstate Michigan's Historic Tax Credit Program
Advocates are continuing their effort to reinstate a Historic Tax Credit program in Michigan. The state legislature is considering legislation that would establish a 25% tax credit for qualified rehabilitation expenses. Senate Bill 469 passed the Senate 36-2 in December. A hearing is scheduled for next week to consider the legislation in the House Tax Policy Committee. Michigan has been without a state historic tax credit program since 2011 and is currently one of 15 states with no state historic tax credit program.
The previous iteration of this program was in place from 1999 to 2011 and over that time leveraged $251 million in federal tax credits, led to the creation of 36,000 jobs, and incentivized $1.46 billion in direct rehab expenses.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) tours the Coffelt-Lamareoux housing project in Phoenix, AZ
May is National Historic Preservation Month! Tours, special programs and events celebrating all things preservation, will be happening across the country throughout May. Let us know what your city or state is doing to celebrate Preservation Month!
Preservation Month Site Visits
National Historic Preservation Month is a great time to reach out to your members of Congress and their staff, and invite them to tour a historic tax credit project or join a Preservation Month event. Preservation Action is working to leverage Preservation Month as a great opportunity for members of Congress to visit historic tax credit projects and other historic sites in their district/state. The co-chairs of the Historic Preservation Caucus, Representatives
Mike Turner (R-OH) and
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), along with Preservation Action, sent a
letter to House members recognizing Preservation Month and encouraging site visits while in district. The House and Senate will be on an in-district period
May 28 - June 1, July 2-6 and the month of August. One thing we heard time and time again from congressional staff during Advocacy Week was site visits help to show members of Congress the tangible impact of programs like the Historic Tax Credit and Historic Preservation Fund.
Preservation Action will host an Preservation Month Hill briefing on
May 21st to educate staff on the historic preservation program and encourage members of Congress and their staff to celebrate Preservation Month.
Preservation Action is the only national
non-profit dedicated exclusively to lobbying for the best preservation policies at the federal level. We seek to make historic preservation a national priority by advocating to all branches of government through a grassroots constituency empowered with information and training.