Preservation Action, Legislative Update
Volume 19, Number 44, December 16, 2016 →
Senate Clears NPS Centennial Act, Includes HPF Reauthorization- Now Moves to President’s Desk
Early Saturday morning, at around 2am, the U.S Senate passed the National Park Service (NPS) Centennial Act, H.R 4680, which in addition to better preparing the NPS for the next 100 years of stewardship, also included reauthorization of the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) until 2023. The bill passed the House last week, so now moves to President Obama’s desk where he is expected to sign the legislation into law. This victory follows more than a year of advocacy to reauthorize the HPF, after the last authorization expired in September of 2015.
In addition to including HPF reauthorization, the NPS Centennial Act aims to attract private donations to match government spending on National Park projects. Supporters say this bill will help to tackle issues facing our National Parks, like the maintenance backlog and funding for infrastructure projects. The legislation also creates a full-time chairperson, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP).
A special thanks to everyone who helped get this important legislation across the finish line, especially to all of our members and supporters who reached out to members of congress expressing support for the HPF. Also thanks to our champions in congress, specifically House and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Historic Preservation Caucus co-chairs Michael Turner (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) for their efforts. In a letter sent to supporters and advocates in the preservation community, Rep. Blumenauer thanked us for all of our efforts.
“When I became Co-Chair of the Historic Preservation Caucus at the beginning of the 114th Congress, my top priority was reauthorizing the Historic Preservation Fund, and I’m pleased that we could get this done in a deeply divided Congress that has been more notable for what it has not accomplished. It is a testament to the hard work of all of you in the preservation community to build support for reauthorization, from Main Street to Capitol Hill, and I thank you for your efforts.”
Action Alert: Historic Tax Credit Threatened by Tax Reform
The Historic Tax Credit (HTC) could be repealed as part of tax reform legislation. President-elect Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan have both targeted tax reform as a top priority of the new congress and administration, which could gain traction in the first 100 days. Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee met earlier this week to discuss tax reform with a goal to have draft legislation ready by January. We expect tax reform legislation to be in line with the “A Better Way” tax reform blueprint proposed by House Republicans in June. The document proposed the elimination of tax credits and deductions, which would include the Historic Tax Credit. The Historic Tax Credit is in grave danger of elimination in tax reform. As lawmakers are drafting tax reform legislation over the holidays, members of congress (especially those on the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee) need to hear from constituents in support of the Historic Tax Credit!
The Historic Tax Credit (HTC) is the most significant federal financial commitment to historic preservation. Over the last 36 years, the credit has created 2.3 million jobs, leveraged $117 billion in investment, and rehabilitated more than 41,250 buildings-all while generating enough in federal revenue to pay for itself.
1. Contact House members of congress ASAP– Call (during office hours) or email the offices of your members of congress and ask to speak to tax staff or staff contacts you have in offices. If they are on the House Ways and Means Committee tell them to state their support for the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) when reviewing draft tax reform legislation. If they are not on the Ways and Means Committee- ask them to covey their support of the HTC to Chairman Kevin Brady other committee members. House Member lookup. Senators lookup.
Check out the HTC Fact Sheet from the Historic Tax Credit Coalition and the HTC 1-pager from Advocacy Week 2016 for materials and talking points. Also check out the new interactive mapping tool from Novogradac and Company to see HTC projects in your state or district.
2. In-district Meetings in December and January. Request a meeting with your members of congress in-district over the holiday recess and express your support of the HTC. If possible combine your meeting with a tour of a HTC project!
3. Attend Advocacy Week March 14-16th. One of the best ways to make your voice heard is in person, in Washington. Attend National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week, March 14-16th. Our annual advocacy week, brings over 250 preservationists to Washington D.C for 3 days to lobby congress for historic preservation policy, including the Historic Tax Credit. Check back for details on registration in January. Email email@example.com if you are interested in serving as a state coordinator.
4. Make a donation to Preservation Action’s Year End Appeal. Preservation Action has been on the forefront lobbying for the Historic Tax Credit, since the program was established in 1976. Preservation Action was instrumental in establishing the HTC and time and time again we’ve fought back proposals to eliminate or heavily restrict the tax credit. Help us take on the current threats to the tax credit; donate today!
President-elect Trump Names Rep. Ryan Zinke As His Nominee for Interior Secretary
President-elect Donald Trump announced his nominee for Secretary of the Department of the Interior would be Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT). President-elect Trump made the announcement Thursday, after many news outlets reported last week that his nominee for Interior Secretary would be Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). Rep. Zinke will replace the current Secretary of Interior, Sally Jewell, pending Senate confirmation. The Department of Interior is responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources. The department oversees multiple agencies including the National Park Service, which is the steward of many of America’s most important natural and historic resources. The Historic Preservation Fund is funded through Department of Interior appropriations.
Rep. Ryan Zinke was elected to Congress in 2014 representing Montana’s at-large congressional district. In congress he served on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee. He is a former Navy Seal and previously served in the Montana Senate. Noteably Rep. Zinke broke rank with many House Republicans in opposing the the transfer of many federally owned lands to the states.
Public Comments Now Open on U.S World Heritage Tentative List
Public comment is now being accepted on the planned additions to the U.S World Heritage Tentative List and future nominations to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Currently the United States’ has 23 sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, most recently the San Antonio Missions in San Antonio Texas were added in 2015. The public is invited to submit comments on the current tentative list and make suggestions for new additions to the tentative list through December 27, 2016. National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan Jarvis announced the proposed additions to the U.S Tentative List at the U.S/ICOMOS Annual Gala and World Heritage Celebration held last Thursday. The annual gala honored Director Jarvis and his work.
The current U.S Tentative List includes the following sites:
New York Times: “Op Ed: Why We Need a National Monument to Reconstruction“
Stories From Around the States
North Carolina: “Using Preservation to Stop Gentrification Before It Starts“