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Save the Historic Tax Credit, Save Buildings in Philadelphia and Elsewhere
The historic tax credit is threatened in the current version of the House tax bill released last week. Its loss would greatly reduce developers' ability to renovate historic buildings and threaten cities' ability to revitalize older districts, and cities like Philadelphia already have a hard time saving old buildings even with the credit in place.
Architecture critic Inga Saffron of the Philadelphia Inquirer cites numerous historic renovations in Philadelphia that have relied heavily on the historic tax credit in order to pencil out. The Divine Lorraine is just one example. Writes Saffron, the Divine Lorraine:
"would never have been salvaged — never mind restored to its original architectural splendor — without the help of a federal incentive called the Historic Tax Credit. A tax write-off for people who invest in historic preservation, it was introduced in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, who saw it as an economically sensible way to make America’s cities and towns beautiful again."
Saffron goes on to produce several other great examples of historic redevelopments across Philadelphia that have saved precious urban resources, spurred other revitalization, and are simply beautiful. As well, she notes National Trust research indicates more than 40,000 buildings have been restored nationwide, creating two million jobs. That alone is reason to save the historic tax credit.