Preservation Action, Legislative Update
Volume 21, Number 07, March 23, 2018 →

FY18 Omnibus Spending Bill Passes With Important Increases for Historic Preservation

The FY18 Omnibus Spending Bill, which funds the government through September, was released this week and includes $96.91 million for the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), a $16 million increase over FY17 levels. This is great news for the preservation community, especially after the Administration’s request called for substantial cuts to the HPF. The increased funding levels included in the bill will have a substantial impact on preservation efforts across the country. The funding includes an $8 million increase for the Save America’s Treasures program, $1 million increase each for SHPOs and THPOs, and $5 million for a new competitive grant program to revitalize historic properties of national, state, and local significance. A total breakdown of the HPF is below.

$48.925 million for State Historic Preservation Offices, $1m increase
$11.485 million for Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, $1m increase
$13 million for Civil Rights grants, equal to FY17
$13 million for Save America’s Treasures grants, $8m increase
$5 million for HBCU preservation, $1m increase
$500,000 for underserved communities grants, equal to FY17
$5 million in competitive grants to revitalize historic properties of national, state and local significance, not included in FY17

The Omnibus spending bill also includes $20.32 million, a $500,000 increase, for the Heritage Partnership Program which supports National Heritage Areas and $10 million for the American Battlefield Protection Program, a $1.519 million increase over FY17 levels.

The House and Senate passed the Omnibus spending bill with broad bipartisan support, however many conservatives have expressed concern about the increase in spending. Despite expressing unease with the bill and process, President Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill into law, averting a potential government shutdown. Prior to the spending bill, the federal government was operating under it’s 5th Continuing Resolution (CR) since September.

Historic Preservation Fund House Dear Colleague Letter Receives 117 Bipartisan Cosponsors, Surpassing Last Year’s Total

A bipartisan group of 117 members of Congress signed on to the FY19 Historic Preservation Fund Request Dear Colleague Letter. The letter received 20 more signatures than the FY18 dear colleague letter and is the most members of we’ve had sign the letter in several years. The letter was submitted to the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee chairman, Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Ranking Member, Betty McCollum (D-MN).

The HPF Dear Colleague letter calls for increased funding for State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers and continued support for competitive grant programs like the Civil Rights grant program and Save America’s Treasures.

Thank you to everyone that reached out to their members of Congress, urging them to sign-on to this important letter. We’d especially also like to thank the Historic Preservation Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and their offices for their leadership on this letter.

Below are the representatives that signed-on to the HPF Dear Colleague letter. Did your member sign-on? Be sure to thank them for their critical support.

FY18 HPF Dear Colleague Letter Signers →

New York Assembly and Senate Budget Include Recommended Changes to State’s Historic Tax Credit Program

Good news in New York. The one House budget bill from the New York Assembly and Senate include the recommended changes to the state’s historic tax credit program advocated by preservation and business leaders in New York. The Assembly and Senate budget would decouple the state’s historic tax credit program from the federal program and extend the program through 2024. Now a final budget will be negotiated by the Governor, the Assembly and the state Senate and is due by April 1st.

Currently New York’s state historic tax credit is coupled with the federal Historic Tax Credit, which will be phased in over 5 years after recent changes made during tax reform deliberations. The program is also due to sunset at the end of 2019. Supporters argue that not making these changes threatens the future of New York’s historic tax credit. Adding that the uncertainty of the program is already impacting projects in the pipeline.

Check out the Preservation League of New York State for more updates.

Thank You for a Great National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week!

/Rep-Walorski-21_previewWe 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 mail@preservationaction.org.

Complete Your 2018 Hill Report Forms Today →

National News

National Park Service: “National Park Week: Three Bookmark-Worthy Resources to Help You Plan

National Trust Community Investment Corporation: “A Memorable March: NTCIC Advocates for Continued HTC Support

Stories From Around the States

Rhode Island: “Report: Historic Preservation Generates $1.4 Billion For RI Economy

Maryland: “Recap: Federal Preservation Advocacy Week in Washington, DC

New York: “Editorial: Keep the State Historic Tax Credit

Vermont: “33 Preservation Grants Awarded for Buildings, Barns