ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

RIPEC: Historic tax credit could fuel economy, development

COURTESY R.I. PUBLIC EXPENDITURE COUNCIL
THE TEMPORARY reauthorization of the state’s Historic Preservation Investment Tax Credit could stimulate the economy and foster job creation and development, according to a R.I. Public Expenditure Council report released Thursday. For a larger version of this chart, click HERE.
Posted 5/25/12

PROVIDENCE – The temporary reauthorization of the state’s Historic Preservation Investment Tax Credit could stimulate the economy and foster job creation and development, according to a R.I. Public Expenditure Council report released Thursday.

According to the report, as Rhode Island’s economy begins to recover, the state will be faced with two choices – undoing structural changes that were made in response to the recession or taking an investment-based approach to the budget.

“While RIPEC believes that the state should not take any actions that will contribute to its structural deficit, historic credits from abandoned projects may allow for a targeted, short-term economic stimulus,” said a news release announcing the report.

“There are many intangible benefits of historic preservation, such as preservation of culture and community and the aesthetic sensibilities of preserving architecturally significant buildings,” said the RIPEC report, adding that historic preservation conveys economic benefits as well as historical ones.

Preservation costs may be lower than replacement costs and designation as a historic place may increase property values, stimulating economic growth.

“However, historic rehabilitation also carries costs,” said the report. … “In order to mitigate these costs, historic structures tax credits provide an economic incentive for private-sector investment in the rehabilitation of historic properties.”

The RIPEC report says that allowing new developers to apply for abandoned credits could provide a “much-needed boost” to an economy that may not be robust enough to support development for commercial properties without the credit.

Temporary reinstatement of the Historic Preservation Investment Tax Credit would also allow for an evaluation of how a full reinstatement of the credit could stimulate economic activity and job creation in the Ocean State.

“In the long-term, Rhode Island may benefit from full reinstatement of the credit; however, this decision should be a part of an overall review of the state’s tax policy,’ said the RIPEC release.

The council warned against full restoration of the tax credits without due diligence, saying that the state must consider the structure of the credit, including its value, per project or statewide caps and carry- forward periods.

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