Preservation Action, Legislative Update
Volume 21, Number 09, March 30, 2018 →
House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on the National Park Service’s Deferred Maintenance Backlog
The The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing to discuss two bills, both designed to address the over $11 billion deferred maintenance backlog at the National Park Service (NPS), the National Park Service Legacy Act (H.R 2584, S. 751) and the National Park Service Restoration Act (H.R 5210, S. 2509).
Both bills would create a dedicated fund to address the maintenance backlog using mineral revenues from energy development on public lands and waters as their source. In addition, both bills would not use revenues already obligated for other purposes, like the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Historic Preservation Fund. The NPS Restoration Act’s funding would be based on a percentage of overall energy development revenue, as compared to a set dollar amount, which means the funding level could vary year to year. The NPS Legacy Act would use specified amounts of mineral revenues and would use 20% for transportation related projects and 80% for non-transportation related projects including visitor access, utility systems and historic assets. Both bills have strong bipartisan support and share many of the same cosponsors.
The witnesses testifying before the committee included NPS Deputy Director Daniel Smith, who presented the Administration’s views on the two bills. Deputy Director Smith testified in support of the NPS Restoration Act, saying the Administration believes it it would be a better approach to address the deferred maintenance backlog.
Preservation Action appreciates the attention given to the deferred maintenance backlog issue from the Natural Resources Committee and the bipartisan approach to address this critical issue. Watch the full the hearing below.
Secretary Zinke Testified Before House and Senate Committees on the FY19 Budget Request
Department of Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke testified before the The House Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committeeon President Trump’s FY19 Budget Request for the Department of Interior. These hearings mark the next step in the budget process for FY19 appropriations. The budget request calls for massive cuts to the Department of Interior and important preservation programs. During the hearings, several members of Congress expressed concern over some of these cuts.
The Administration’s budget request calls for substantial cuts to programs important to preservation, including a more than 50% cut the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). The request eliminates funding for HPF grant programs like the Civil Rights Grants, HBCU preservation program, and Save America’s Treasures. The request also dramatically reduces funding State and Tribal Historic Preservation Programs. That said, Congress controls the purse strings and recently showed their support for the Historic Preservation Fund with the FY18 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which passed just last week. The Omnibus bill included $96.91 million for the HPF, a $16 million increase over FY17 levels (See last week’s Legislative Update for the full breakdown.
Preservation Action advocated for significant increases for the Historic Preservation Fund during National Preservation Advocacy Week and we’re very pleased to see the increases included in the FY18 Omnibus bill. We look to build on that success as we enter the FY19 budget process, and look forward to working with Congress as they move forward with the appropriations process.
Missouri Senate Votes to Reduce the State’s Historic Tax Credit Program
The Missouri Senate voted this week to significantly reduce the state’s Historic Tax Credit program from a $140 million annual cap to $90 million, with the potential for an additional $30 million reserved for high poverty areas if the project cap is met. Historic Revitalization for Missouri estimates this would result in $250 million in project cuts. Slashing Missouri’s historic tax credit program was attempted in previous years, but supporters of the program successfully fought back those efforts.
The Governor of Missouri, Eric Greitens, has expressed support for reducing tax credit programs in state, saying they divert funds from other state expenses. The Missouri Historic Tax Credit program has had a substantial impact across the state. The program has leveraged $7 billion in private investment, created 43,000 jobs and returns $2.60 in tax revenue for every $1 invested by the state. Senate Bill 590 passed the Missouri Senate by a vote of 24-8 and has been sent to the House for consideration. Check out Protect Historic Main Street Missouri to learn more and find out how you can help!
Thank You for a Great National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week!
We just concluded a great National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week in Washington, DC last week. Thanks to all of your efforts we conducted nearly 200 meetings, representing 40 states. Thank you to everyone that helped make Advocacy Week 2018 a huge success.
We will have a full recap on Advocacy Week 2018 shortly, but in the meantime, if you completed meetings, please submit your Advocacy Week Hill Report Forms. Knowing how your meetings went is critical for our continued advocacy. You can complete your report form online or return completed forms to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stories From the States
Rhode Island: “Editorial: Investing in RI’s History“