As Congress returns, House and Senate negotiators are slated to narrow differences to finalize appropriations for the omnibus spending bill that for the FY 2014 budget. This fills in the gaps after December’s budget deal and avoids another shutdown next week.
Write appropriators, your member of Congress and let them know your support for federal funding of historic preservation grants and the Historic Preservation Fund.
I write to request your support for the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) as members of the House and Senate complete consideration of the Fiscal Year 2014 budget. In our state and across the nation, historic preservation has proved to be a success in driving economic development and job creation, and, importantly, preserving our national heritage.
The National Historic Preservation Act set up HPF grants to assist communities in preserving their heritage. The HPF is the primary means to ensure appropriate implementation of our nation’s historic preservation laws and to safeguard our historic resources. The State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPOs) funded through the HPF provide the tools needed to revitalize, rehabilitate, and protect the places that give meaning to the nation and are hallmarks of the beauty and cultural legacy of states and localities in the richness of America.
[State or local examples from your preservation advocacy work]
To ensure America does not lose its cultural treasures, I ask that Congress appropriate at least $68 million in funding for the HPF and historic preservation grants in the FY14 budget. The request is based upon FY12 funding amounts for SHPOs and THPOs and also supports the President’s FY14 request of $3 million for a competitive program to help survey and identify historic resources important to underrepresented populations and the Senate’s proposed $10 million program that would fund competitive historic preservation grants.
To keep these programs operating efficiently and to carry out the work of preserving our cultural heritage, America can not afford any additional reductions in federal funding to the SHPO and THPO programs. The negative impact of cuts to these programs include delays in reviews of federal undertakings and certification of Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit projects – a $4 billion industry.
Historic preservation is important to the many people who live and work and visit our communities. Thank you for considering this urgent request and protecting the future of historic preservation for today and generations to come.