Tax reform aimed at growing the economy should enhance, not diminish the historic tax credit.  As of now, the Federal Historic Tax Credit is not in the House, Ways and Means Bill, and it is not expected to be included in the Senate’s version, which could be marked up as early as Monday, November 13.


 Download the Fact Sheet > The Significant Positive Impact of the Federal Historic Tax Credit in KY


The Federal Historic Tax Credit is seriously threatened and we need your help to save this critical program.  The Federal Historic Tax Credit was not included in the Republican leadership’s outline for tax reform – the “Group of Six” instructions to the tax writing committees did not include keeping the Federal HTC as they draft their tax reform bills.


For more than three decades, the Federal HTC has successfully implemented a national policy of preserving our historic resources.  It is the most significant investment the federal government makes toward the preservation of our historic buildings. In addition to revitalizing communities and spurring economic growth, the Federal HTC returns more to the Treasury than it costs—$1.20-1.25 in tax revenue for every dollar invested:  Since 1978, the $25.2 billion in credits have returned an estimated $29.8 billion in federal tax revenue.


Despite a proven track record of stimulating economic growth and preserving our architectural heritage, however, tax reform proposals recommend a repeal of this essential credit.


While extraordinary efforts have been made with members of the Ways and Means committee members, experts familiar with the issue believe that Chairman Brady will hold firm in his plan to release a bill that mirrors the instructions laid out by the “Group of Six” to only include the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and the Research & Development Tax Credit.


It is also expected that Chairman Brady will attempt to get the tax reform bill to the floor for a full House vote by November 6, 2017, which will give House members only three days to amend.


Meanwhile, the recent passage of a budget by the Senate created a path for that body to pass a tax reform bill with only a simple majority of 51 votes.


Without immediate action, it is now a very real possibility that the preservation community will lose the Federal Historic Tax Credit.


The Federal Historic Tax Credit program is critical for the United States and Kentucky economies:

  • The Federal HTC is a proven driver for economic development, workforce security, growth and sustainability, responsible for generating more than $500 MILLION in Kentucky development from 2001-2016.
  • The Federal HTC has saved hundreds of historic buildings in Kentucky and thousands more nationwide.
  • Kentucky’s 37 Main Street Programs benefit tremendously from the Federal HTC:  it has created local jobs; helped finance 345 commercial rehab projects between 2002-2016; generated millions of dollars in development investment and construction jobs; provided housing for low income, senior citizens and young professionals; sparked revitalization our historic commercial districts; and, enhanced heritage tourism in communities statewide.



What you can do:  Urge lawmakers to send a message to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees that the historic tax credit must be retained in a reformed tax code by calling and writing Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, and your congressional district Representative.  Find your Representatives and view Kentucky’s Congressional Districts here.

      1.  Call House and Senate Members during office hours

Kentucky Senators, Representatives and Congressional maps

      2.  Ask to speak to tax staff, any personal staff contacts, and ask for email addresses of tax staff.

a. Introduce yourself as a constituent

b. Let them know you have been hearing about tax reform; want to check in to see how the Federal Historic Tax Credit is fairing; and are extremely concerned that the Historic Tax Credit was not specifically mentioned in the tax reform framework.

c. Explain why you value Historic Tax Credits, and that the redevelopment of historic buildings will not get done without the HTC.

d. Let them know some previous and future HTC projects in Kentucky (Link to State HTC Map and Project List below)

> Kentucky Federal HTC Map and Data

> Interactive mapping tool developed by Novogradac and Company

e. Touch on why these historic buildings are so challenging but important to our communities.

f. Ask as tax reform moves forward, if that Representative/Senator will vocalize support and work to protect the federal historic tax credit with Congressional Leadership and the tax writing committees.

g. Share this video of President Reagan with the office

    3.  Follow up with an email or USPS letter to your Congressional representatives.

    4.  Urge local leaders in your cities and towns to pass a city resolution in support of the Federal HTC.

    5.  Invite your members of Congress to attend an in-district meeting or tour of a completed Federal HTC

project.  The House will be in-district Nov. 17-14, and the Senate will be in-district Nov. 20-24.  Showing members of Congress and/or their staff rehabilitated historic buildings first hand is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate the value of the Federal HTC. 


Talking points – Federal HTC Kentucky impact

>The Federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC) program is critical for the US and Kentucky economy, workforce security, community growth and sustainability.

>The Federal HTC is a proven driver for economic development, responsible for generating

more than $500 MILLION in Kentucky development from 2001-2016:

*345 rehab projects

*$558,137,549 in total development costs

*9,583 construction jobs created

*5,048 permanent jobs created

*$112,187,000 total taxes generated: 11,811,600 local; 15,892,100 state, 84,483,300 fed.

> The Federal HTC returns more to the Treasury than it costs—$1.20-1.25 in tax revenue for every dollar invested:  $25.2 billion in allocated credits have returned an estimated $29.8 billion in federal tax revenue.

>The Federal HTC has saved hundreds of historic buildings in Kentucky and thousands more nationwide; put once vacant buildings back on the tax rolls; created and sustained jobs; revitalized downtowns and neighborhoods; and, incentivized the repurposing and preservation of our historic buildings.

>Kentucky has the fourth highest number of National Register listings with more than 3,200 districts, sites and structures encompassing more than 42,000 historic features.


Talking points – Federal HTC national impact

The Federal Historic Tax Credit was created in 1976, certified its first project in1977, modified in 1981, and signed into President Reagans Tax Reform of 1986. Over the life of the program, the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit (HTC) has:

*created more than 2.4 million good-paying local jobs

*leveraged $131.8 billion in private investment in our communities

*used $25.2 billion in tax credits to generate more than $29.8 billion in federal tax revenue

*preserved more than 42,293 buildings that form the historic fabric of our nation






Most recent Preservation Partners webinar on the Federal HTC, Sept. 21


Additional Resources

>Preservation Kentucky’s Webinar on Preserving the Federal Historic Tax Credit

>National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Tax Incentives for Preserving Historic Properties

>Reports on the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit

>Internal Revenue Service Real Estate Tax Tips on Rehabilitation Tax Credit

>Historic Tax Credit Coalition




Why Historic Preservation is Smart Business

Historic Preservation is a Proven Economic Driver and Critical Tool for Downtown and Neighborhood Revitalization


Preservation Kentucky led the charge in 2005 to establish a state historic preservation tax credit to incentivize the rehabilitation of historic commercial and residential buildings in all 120 counties.  This credit has been responsible for saving hundreds of historic buildings, placing them into service and back on the tax rolls, and leveraging millions in private revitalization spending.

Since the Kentucky historic tax credit was signed into law:

  • 738 buildings across the state have been rehabilitated
  • $433 million of private funds have been invested in historic buildings, leveraged through $33.2 million in credits
  • $1.2 million per commercial project has been invested, and $120,097 per residential project has been invested

Kentucky has the fourth highest number of National Register listings with more than 3,200 districts, sites and structures encompassing more than 42,000 historic features – a success managed by our state partner, the Kentucky Heritage Council, along with the Kentucky Historic Resources Inventory of more than 100,000 sites.


The economic and community impact of Kentucky’s Main Street Program has been effective, especially in rural and small towns.  In 2016, Main Street communities contributed $100 million to our economy with more than $75 million in private investment, matched by $30.9 million in improvements.  In 2016, they reported 1,452 new jobs, 234 new businesses, 81 new downtown housing unites, 198 building rehabilitation projects, and $51,433,241 in rehabilitation investment.


The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit

Equally important is the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program.  In Kentucky, between 2001-2016, the federal HTC:

  • facilitated 345 projects
  • generated more than $500 million in Kentucky development
  • created 9,583 jobs
  • generated $112,187,000 in taxes – $11,811,500 local; $15,982,100 state; and, $84,483,300 federal





Placemaking Kentucky:  This Place Matters

by Betsy Hatfield, Executive Director, Preservation Kentucky


Placemaking – the management of our spaces, our inspirations and the assets that make our communities special and contribute to our health, happiness and well-being.  


Kentucky’s historic architecture is as rich in diversity, style, form and function as the topography that has helped shape it.  From the Appalachian Mountains, hilly Pennyroyal and Cumberland Plateau, to the Western Coal Fields, Jackson Purchase and the Bluegrass – the natural beauty of our mountains, meadows, forests, woodlands, waterways and geological formations have provided the setting for some of the country’s most beautiful, interesting and historic places.


Our communities are equally as diverse and tell our varied stories.  River cities, coal mining camps, farmsteads, rural towns, hamlets, railroad villages, Main Streets, courthouse squares, urban neighborhoods and metropolitan downtowns – all with their own personality and sense of place.


Practically every style of American architecture is represented in Kentucky’s built environment: Federal farmhouses, shotgun houses, Georgian and Greek Revival mansions, log cabins, stucco bungalows, cast iron and brick Victorian warehouses, colonial cottages, classical stone buildings – all visible reminders of what distinguishes us, shapes our history, influences our qualify of life and inspires our collective, community spaces.


How we protect our historic buildings, prehistoric places and landscapes is placemaking.


The National Trust’s This Place Matters campaign, created in 2008 as a way for people to shine a spotlight on the historic places that play a role in their lives, is especially meaningful as we’ve recorded more than 50 years of preservation progress since the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the milestone legislation that officially galvanized our country into action with national placemaking to legally, consciously and collectively preserve our historic places.


It’s also been more than 50 years since the formation of our state partner, the Kentucky Heritage Council, the government agency that has been statewide placemaking, assisting individuals, communities and local governments in making historic preservation an important component of comprehensive community planning.


Daniel Boone said ” Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place.”  Jesse Stuart called Kentucky the heart of America.  We call Kentucky home.  All who live, work and visit here experience the treasures, the assets, the places we value, and the places that define us.  Places that need protecting.


Placemaking Kentucky.


Learn more about the places and issues that matter to Kentucky on our YouTube channel and in these recently recorded webinars


Why We Preserve:  Demystifying Historic Preservation, with Daniel Vivian, PhD, Public History Professor, University of Louisville


View Handouts Here


Why Preservation is Important for Economic Development, with Joseph Klare, MBA, Director of Real Estate Finance and Investment, The Catalytic Fund



How to Apply for a Kentucky Fund Grant, with Diana Maxwell, National Trust for Historic Preservation