Landmarks Association of St. Louis

First Annual Report on the Impact of the Federal Historic Tax Credit

The full report can be read at the following LINK, but here are some highlights: According to a press release, "the federal historic tax credit is a highly efficient job creator-accounting for the creation of 1.8 million new jobs over the life of the program. The report found that historic tax credits generated jobs more efficiently than other stimulus options and the study concludes that the economic activity leveraged by the historic tax credit returns more tax revenue to the U.S. Treasury than the cost of implementing the program. The report, the first to ever to comprehensively examine the economic impact of the federal historic tax credit, also underscores the need for additional legislation to strengthen the federal credits, making them more widely available for smaller, rural projects and also encouraging their use for green and sustainable rehab projects."  This type of "dollars and cents" analysis does much to support the claims of preservationists who tout rehabilitation and preservation as tools for economic development.  Unfortunately, reports such as this have a tendency to be ignored by many legislators who continue to willfully regard the various tax incentives given to preservation as "pork" or unjustifiable "entitlements" for the benefit of already-wealthy developers. These are the arguments currently being espoused by several Republican representatives in Missouri's state government in an effort to reduce the state's historic tax credit program and subject it to what would become a highly politicized appropriations process.  This misguided effort is ongoing despite the fact that studies such as this new one and a separate analysis tailored specifically to Missouri's historic tax credit program (carried out by economist Donovan Rypkema and presented at the 2008 Missouri Preservation Conference text available on the website of Missouri Preservation), have clearly and consistently demonstrated the positive impact that the tax credits have on job creation and private investment in local economies.  Fortunately, while some people are content to keep their heads in the sand, the numbers do not lie; both the state and federal historic tax credit programs generate much more money than they cost and provide long-term benefits to our towns, cities, states and country.