Preservation Action, Legislative Update
Volume 20, Number 12, April 21, 2017 →

As Congress Returns, Potential Shutdown Looms

Congress will return from the Easter recess next week. Lawmakers will have limited time to pass another continuing resolution or an omnibus spending package for the remainder of FY17 to avert a government shutdown, which would start at midnight on April 28th. Democrats and Republicans in Congress still have several issues to resolve in order to pass a spending bill; including an issue over insurance subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, and President Trump’s proposed border wall. The Trump administration has begun preparing for the possibility of a government shutdown, though they remain confident that one is unlikely to occur.

As President Trump outlined in his FY18 budget blueprint earlier this year, he is looking to make substantial increases in defense spending and dramatic cuts to domestic spending. The Historic Preservation Fund is currently funded at FY16 levels. During our annual National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week, Preservation Action called on lawmakers to approve the same level of funding as passed in the FY17 Interior Appropriations bill last summer, which included several important increases.

House HPF Appropriations

  • SHPOs: $47.925 million, $1 million above FY16 enacted levels
  • THPOs: $11.985 million, $2 million above FY16 enacted levels
  • Civil Rights Grants: $13 million, $5 million above FY16 enacted levels
  • Save America’s Treasures: $5 million, not included in FY16
  • HBCU Preservation Program: $5 million, not included in FY16
  • Underserved Communities: $500,000, same as FY16 enacted levels

Secretary Zinke Announced National Park Visitation Added $34.9 Billion to U.S Economy in 2016

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Yosemite National Park

This week, Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, announced that $34.9 billion was added to the US economy from National Park visitation in 2016. The units of the National Park Service (NPS) saw a record number, 331 million visitors in 2016, which contributed to the increased economic output. The $34.9 billion added to the economy in 2016 is a substantial increase from the $32 billion added to the economy in 2015. The annual 2016 National Park Visitor Spending Effects report, also found that visitor spending at National Parks supported 318,000 jobs, including 271,544 local jobs. This is an increase over the 295,399 total jobs supported in 2015.

This report once again highlights economic benefit of supporting out national parks. A 2016 report estimated that for every $1 invested in the NPS, effectively returns $10 to the U.S economy because of visitor spending. Secretary Zinke also used the announcement to highlight the need to address the maintenance backlog.

The announcement came during National Park Week, which runs though April 23rd, and includes free admission to National Park units across the country. This week, the NPS also announced Parks 101, a new initiative aimed at uncovering National Park stories you’ve never heard before. The new initiative is an extension of the Find Your Park program.

State Advocacy Alert: Tennessee Moving Closer to Establishing State Historic Tax Credit

Historic preservation advocates are working to establish a state historic tax credit (HTC) program in Tennessee. If successful, Tennessee would become the 35th state to establish a state HTC in addition to the federal program. The “Tennessee Historic Rehabilitation Investment Incentive Act.”, or SB 1040 and HB 1061, are currently making their way though the legislative process. The legislation would establish a 25% tax credit for qualified rehabilitation expenditures on eligible historic properties. All of Tennessee’s surrounding states already have state HTC programs.

Despite the legislation receiving favorable interest in support, advocates need your help to get these important bills across the finish line before the session ends. Our partners at the Tennessee Preservation Trust are asking you to contact your Senators and Representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly, to thank them for their support for historic preservation and community revitalization and ask for their support for SB 1040 and HB 1061. Check out the Tennessee Preservation Trust advocacy page to learn more!

Private Office Space Available in Historic Heurich House

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Heurich House Museum

Are you, or an organization you know, looking for a great office space, in an incredible historic building, alongside like-minded organizations in Washington D.C.? Then look no further. Preservation Action is completing their move out from the Heurich House Museum (also known as the Brewmaster’s Castle) this month. The private office is part of a suite on the 3rd floor of the historic Heurich House, accessible by elevator. The Heurich House is located at 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW. Washington DC, just 1 block from the Dupont Circle Metro. The 3rd floor space is shared with our friends at Scenic America and the United States National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS).

If interested, contact Bruce MacDougal at bruce@brucemacdougal.com for more information.

Stories From Around the States

Texas: “Texas Bill Would Limit Cities’ Historic Preservation Powers

Ohio: “Ohio Ranks No. 1 for Completed Federal Historic Projects

West Virginia: “Editorial: Historic Building Tax Credit Worth Revisiting

Pennsylvania: “Philadelphia Establishes Historic Preservation Task Force

Missouri: “Missouri’s Historic Preservation Conference at the Star Theater in Hannibal

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