Preservation Action, Legislative Update
Volume 21, Number 02, January 19, 2018 →
Congress Must Reach Spending Deal by Midnight to Avert Government Shutdown
Lawmakers must reach a deal on a short-term spending bill by midnight tonight to avert a government shutdown. The House passeda continuing resolution (CR) late Thursday, which would continue current funding levels through February 16th. Most democrats opposed the bill primarily because it did not address the issue of young immigrants known as “Dreamers” who face deportation without action. The spending bill faces a difficult road in the Senate where it will need several votes from democrats to pass.
The government has been operating under a series of continuing resolutions since the end of the fiscal year in September. Several contentious issues still need to be resolved before passing a longer term omnibus spending bill, including deciding top-line budget numbers. The CR being considered would once again continue FY17 enacted levels, which funded the Historic Preservation Fund at $80.91 million.
If the government shuts down around 850,000 government employees would be furloughed across all departments and agencies. National Parks and historic sites across the country would likely close, including the National Mall in Washington, DC. However, as reported in the Washington Post, the Trump Administration is considering keeping National Parks open during a potential government shutdown but without staff. During the last shutdown in 2013, the closing of National Parks sparked significant public outcry.
Majority of National Park Service Advisory Board Resigns Amid Differences with Administration
Nine members of the 12 person National Park Service Advisory Boardresigned this week, citing frustration with the Administration’s unwillingness to meet with the advisory board. The board has been an institution since 1935 and describes itself as “citizen advisers chartered by Congress to help the National Park Service.” The Advisory Board advises the administration on issues related to the Historic Sites, Buildings, and Antiquities Act and the designation of national historic and natural landmarks. The resignations leaves the federal government without a functioning body to designate new national historic or natural landmarks.
According to the resignation the Board said it worked closely with National Park Service employees and the Interior Department throughout 2016, but has since been unable to engage with the Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, saying he has been unwilling to meet with them. A spokesperson for the Department of Interior refuted these claims and said she welcomes their resignations and vowed to “fast-track filling these new vacancies with people who are actually dedicated to working with the Department to better our national parks.”
The Trump Administration has yet to nominate a director for the National Park Service. Currently the Deputy Director of Operations, Michael T. Reneyolds is serving as interim-director.
Michigan Senate Passes Bill to Reinstate Michigan’s Historic Tax Credit Program. Moves to House
Advocates in Michigan are one step closer to re-instating the state’s Historic Tax Credit program. The Michigan Senate passed SB 469, which would establish a 25% state historic tax credit, by a vote of 32-2. Companion legislation, HB 5178 is currently pending in the Michigan House and has been assigned to the Tax Policy Committee. Michigan has been without a state historic tax credit program since 2011 and is currently one of 15 states with no state historic tax credit program.
The bills call for a 25% tax credit toward qualified rehabilitation expenses for contributing commercial and residential properties located within a local historic district. It also offers a supplemental five percent credit to the 20 percent federal historic preservation credit for income producing properties, and is the only credit available for owner-occupied historic homes. Preservationists also argue that establishing a state program is critical considering the recent changes to the federal historic tax credit
The previous iteration of this program was in place from 1999 to 2011 and over that time leveraged $71 million in credits to generate more than $1.46 billion in investment in Michigan rehabilitation projects.
Our partners at Michigan Historic Preservation Network and Preservation Detroit are leading the effort to revive Michigan’s historic tax credit. MHPN will be hosting their annual Advocacy Day on Feb. 21st at the state capitol to advocate for re-instating Michigan’s historic tax credit among other issues. Check out the Advocacy Alert page from MHPN to learn more their efforts and find out how you can help! You can also make your voice heard in person by joining MHPN’s Advocacy Day! The deadline to register is Jan. 26th.
Registration Now Open for National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week
Preservation Action along with the National Conference of Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) is excited to host the 2018 National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week from March 12th-14th at the historic Hamilton Hotel in Washington, DC.
Advocacy Week registration includes in-depth training, policy briefings, meetings with elected officials and white papers from an array of preservation and policy professionals. Ticketed events offer additional meetings with elected officials, their staff, and a national network of preservation advocates.
We Need Your Voice
Advocacy Week is our annual opportunity to have a mass impact on opinion leaders and policy makers. Together with a cohesive message in support of preservation-positive legislation we can ensure a strong future for the federal historic preservation program.
Make Your Hotel Reservations Today
Take advantage of a special $279/night rate. To make your reservations call 1-877-424-2449 and use event code “NCS”. Special room rate expires Feb. 9th 2018.
Check out our Advocacy Week page for more information!
Wall Street Journal: “Tax Law Erodes Historic Building Credit, Threatening Some Projects”
Preservation Leadership Form: “Building the Young Preservationist Movement”