Preservation Action, Legislative Update
Volume 20, Number 17, May 26, 2017 →
President Trump’s Budget Proposal Includes Significant Cuts to the Historic Preservation Fund and Other Preservation Programs
This week President Trump submitted the administrations fiscal year 2018 budget proposal to Congress. For the most part, the administration’s budget request keeps in line with the budget blueprint released in March, which called for steep cuts to domestic programs and increases in defense spending. The budget proposal makes significant cuts to the department where the majority of preservation programs are housed. The proposal would cut the Department of Interior’s budget by $1.4 billion from FY17 enacted levels and cut the National Park Service budget by $300 million over FY17 enacted levels.
The budget proposal would fund the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) at $51.1 million, a $29.81 million cut over 2017 levels, which just passed earlier this month as part of an Omnibus budget. The proposal reduces funding for State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (S/THPOs) and eliminates all competitive grants program. The large cuts to the HPF would greatly undermine the ability of SHPOs and THPOs to carry out their requirements under the National Historic Preservation Act.
President Trump’s FY18 HPF Budget Request
- -SHPOs: $42.1 million ($5.8 million below FY17 levels)
- -THPOs: $8.9 million ($1.5 million below FY17 levels)
- -Civil Rights Grants: funding not requested ($13 million below FY17 levels)
- -HBCU Preservation Program: funding not requested ($4 million below FY17 levels)
- -Save America’s Treasures: funding not requested ($5 million below FY17 levels)
- -Underrepresented Community Grants: funding not requested ($500,000 below FY17 levels)
The FY18 budget request also proposes the elimination of the Heritage Partnership Program, which funds National Heritage Areas (NHA). The program was previously funded at $19.8 million. The budget also proposes final year budgets for the National Endowment or the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment or the Humanities (NEH), eliminating the programs in 2019.
How can you help?
The steep cuts to the HPF, and the elimination of funding for NHAs, NEA, and NEH are very troubling, but Congress still controls the purse strings. Many members of Congress from both parties expressed criticism of President Trump’s budget. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees are now beginning to draft FY18 Appropriations and they need to hear from you. Reach out to your members of Congress and tell them to support funding for the Historic Preservation Fund and critical history and preservation programs. Let them know how these cuts impact you and your community. It is especially important if your members of Congress serve on the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee or Senate Appropriations Interior Subcommittee.
Add Your Organization or Business to the National Historic Tax Credit Organizational Sign-on Letter
Preservation Action, along with our partners at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Tax Credit Coalition, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, and Main Street America are leading an organizational sign-on letter to send to the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee in support of the Historic Tax Credit. The House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committee are currently writing legislation to reform the tax code and based on draft proposals like the “A Better Way” tax reform blueprint, released last June, the Historic Tax Credit could be eliminated.
The Historic Tax Credit is the most significant investment the federal government makes to preserve our nation’s historic properties. Since 1981 the credit has leveraged more than $131 billion in private investment, created more than 2.4 million jobs, and adapted more than 42,293 historic buildings for new and productive uses – all while generating enough in federal taxes to pay for itself. Now we need your help to protect the HTC. Ask congressional leaders to protect the Federal Historic Tax Credit in tax reform by adding your organization to the HTC sign-on letter.
Celebrate National Historic Preservation Month With Site Visits
Celebrate National Historic Preservation Month this May! Tours, special programs and events celebrating all things preservation, will be happening across the country throughout May. Let us know what your city or state is doing to celebrate Preservation Month!
Preservation Month Site Visits
National Historic Preservation Month is a great time to reach out to your members of Congress and their staff, and invite them tour a historic tax credit project or join a Preservation Month event. Preservation Action is working to leverage Preservation Month as a great opportunity for members of Congress to visit historic tax credit sites. The co-chairs of the Historic Preservation Caucus, Representatives Mike Turner (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), along with Preservation Action, sent a letter to House members recognizing Preservation Month and encouraging members to attend site visits while in district.
The House and Senate will on an in-district period May 27-June 3 and again July 1-8. One thing we heard time and time again from congressional staff during National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week, was site visits help to show members of Congress the tangible impact of programs like the Historic Tax Credit. If your member/s of congress are unavailable for a site visit, ask if members of their staff would available; this is still great way to highlight the impact of the HTC. Contact Rob Naylor with Preservation Action at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any assistance facilitating a site visit. Also be sure share stories and photos from your site visits with us on Facebook and Twitter!
Lawmakers Pass Bill Renewing Alabama’s Historic Tax Credit- Heads to Governor
Legislation to renew Alabama’s historic tax credit program cleared one final legislative hurdle as Alabama’s House approved concurrence on HB 345. The bill now moves to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk to be signed into law. The legislation received nearly unanimous support from the Alabama House (91-1) and unanimous from the state Senate (31-0). Alabama’s previous historic tax credit program was allowed to expire at the end of the last legislative session
Last year, legislation renewing the historic tax credit program came up just short in the Alabama Senate after being held from a vote over budgetary concerns. This year’s legislation includes several changes to Alabama’s previous historic tax credit program including, requiring historic structures to be at least 60 years of age to qualify for the credit, and requiring 40 percent of credits to be initially reserved for rural counties of the state. Congratulations to our partners at Alabama Preservation Action and other advocates that played a critical role in renewing Alabama’s historic tax credit program. Alabama becomes the 35th state to approve a state historic tax credit program.
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