Darling Bill To Restore Historic Tax Credit Has Public Hearing
The Historic Tax Credit is revitalizing many of Wisconsin's communities. However, funding for the credit was capped by a budget veto.
We are working with Governor Walker to come up with a fiscally responsible way to maintain this highly successful program.
On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions, and Rural Issues held a public hearing on a bipartisan bill I am authoring with State Representative Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah) to restore the state's successful Historic Tax Credit.
Many downtowns throughout Wisconsin owe their revitalization to the Historic Tax Credit. It's a low risk - high return program because the state doesn't pay until the project is complete. Instead of being an eyesore, these rehabilitated historic buildings are getting a new life and are popular destinations.
In 2014, 60% of all projects using the tax credit were vacant for more than 20 years. A recent study by Baker Tilly shows over a 10-year period the Historic Tax Credit returned $8 to the state for every $1 invested. The study also showed that between 2014 and 2016 the tax credit generated more than $600 million in economic output.
Without the credit, many abandoned historic buildings will stay that way and not add to their communities. Across the country, many main streets are dying. But here in Wisconsin, they are tourist destinations. The Historic Tax Credit cap is a key reason why development in some communities is on hold.
Currently, projects in Thiensville, Oshkosh, Cedarburg, Fond du Lac, La Crosse, and Madison are in limbo because of the cap. This legislation will provide the certainty needed for these projects to continue and for more buildings to be saved from the wrecking ball.
It's my hope this important bill will soon be voted on in committee so the full State Senate can vote on it.