Archive for the ‘Legal Issues with Historic Homes’ Category

Minnesota State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit signed into law by Governor Tim Pawlenty through Jobs Stimulus Bill

Minnesota joins 30 other states in catalyzing job-creation through preservation projects

Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 11:00 a.m., Governor Tim Pawlenty signed into law the Minnesota Jobs Stimulus Bill, a diverse array of tax incentives to stimulate job growth in Minnesota. The bill is estimated to create between 12,000 and 20,000 jobs across the state.

A significant feature of the bill is the State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, an incentive to stimulate green job growth, increase local tax base, and revitalize urban and main street communities through reinvestment in historic properties. This provision is estimated to create between 1,500 and 3,000 construction jobs annually if Minnesota is consistent with other state programs.

Minnesota’s state historic preservation tax credit will allow a state income tax credit equal to 20 percent of the cost of rehabilitating a qualifying historic property. The program mirrors the federal rehabilitation tax credit, a provision that has been in place since 1976. Projects are eligible to claim the state credit if they are allowed the federal credit, a program which requires properties to be listed in the National Register of Historic Preservation to qualify. Minnesota currently has 1,600 listings in the National Register representing almost 7,000 individual properties. Projects must be income-producing to use the credit, therefore, homesteaded residential projects are not eligible. Our law also creates innovation in the tax credit market by allowing a developer to choose either a certificated, refundable credit or a grant, which will stimulate nonprofit use of the incentive, and also can be used against the insurance premium tax widening the investor pool. Click here to link to the Jobs Stimulus bill language.

Continue Article at Preservation Alliance of Minnesota

The Preservation Alliance Starts Fighting for Historic Homes

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

2008 State Rehabilitation Tax Credit effort begins!

Efforts to pass a Minnesota state rehabilitation tax credit in the 2008 Session have begun. The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota convened the Tax Credit Task Force, comprised of a coalition of partners across the state, on February 8 to assess this year’s advocacy strategy in the face of a projected state budget shortfall. Additional information is needed from our legislative partners in order to develop an effective grassroots lobbying effort. For example, we are awaiting information regarding the legislative priorities at the Senate and House level, in addition to the specific direction of their respective Taxes Committees. In the interim, the Task Force elected to send a letter restating our support for passage of the state tax credit. As the Legislature convened on February 12, the letter was on its way to the chairs and members of the Taxes Committees and past authors and cosponsors of our tax credit bill. Please click on this link to read a copy of our letter: 2008 State Tax Credit Request Letter

Learn more about how to send a letter to your state Senator and Representative.

When Does History Become a Burden?

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

When you are a lover of historic homes, you can’t help but cringe anytime an old home sits and rots, or when a new owner decides to take a house down, or add on to it some horrible addition. Many communities still are behind the times and do not have a historical association to protect our historic treasures from ruin. But thankfully Minneapolis and Saint Paul have plenty of organizations that care about this buildings.

But when does this history become a burden? While there are many different examples of how homes can be burdens on a community, one burden some might not think of are historic buildings that no longer exist.

Hmmmm…but how is that possible?

The city of Excelsior is in such a dilemma. Sitting on Lake Minnetonka, Excelsior has a great downtown district, mostly because anyone can enjoy the lake view and stand at the water’s edge, without a building obstruction in the way. One of the best features is an open park, an area I have enjoyed during the summer months with my kids. But during 1904-1922, the pavilion pictured above stood near the same spot.

A developer is currently petitioning the city to allow him to reconstruct the pavilion, in the same spot it used to stand on the shoreline of Excelsior. There are many residents who do not want to lose the lake view that draws tourists to the area. For 80 years, the site has been open, and many want to keep it that way. But there are also residents of Excelsior that like the idea and think the new pavilion would add to the historic nature of the town.

But who should win? A pavilion that predates the open view park, but hasn’t been around since 1922, or the open space, which has been enjoyed by residents and visitors for 80 years? When does a historic building need to bow out gracefully and, for a better phrase, stay dead?

I guess the stand I would take on this issue would be on the side to keep the site as is. I don’t believe that it is in the publics best interest to build a new pavilion, that in this case would be used as a town hall, with some public access. No matter how great the developer can make the site, it still will be taking away an open space which can be currently be enjoyed by all. To me, the pavilion is a great part of Excelsior history, but it does not have a place in the town’s future, especially since it hasn’t been around for so long.

Could the developer be pushing the historic button of residents to get his plan approved? Maybe, but he does have a history of restoring old buildings in Excelsior. I have no doubt he has good intentions, but sometimes it is best to just leave well enough alone. His plan is putting an unfair burden on local residents, making them decide between a view they have enjoyed for a long time, or restoring a building that helped create the town itself.

The photo above is of the current view from Excelsior, looking out to Lake Minnetonka. I think I like this view much better. What do you think?

How Minnesota is Behind the Times When it Comes to Historic Tax Credits

Friday, November 9th, 2007

If you look at the list of states that offer tax incentives for historic preservation you will quickly find that Minnesota is NOT on the list. With as many historic buildings in Minneapolis, St Paul, and the state itself, you would think we would be a state that cares about its history. After all, the Minnesota Historical Society is celebrating 150 years this year.

But unfortunately, protecting our historic past is not on the agenda of some politicians. Once again this year, a bill was introduced that would give property owners and developers some incentive to rehab old buildings, but it was sadly vetoed by the Governor. Homeowners must once again wait till next year to see if legislation can be passed. Here is some info about the proposed bill from the Minnesota Historical Society:

The Historic Preservation Tax Credit

A coalition of cities, historical groups, and property developers is actively promoting proposed legislation that would allow a credit on state income taxes equal to 25 percent of the qualified cost of a historic rehabilitation of residential or income- producing properties. The proposed legislation, similar to provisions in over 20 other states, would encourage private investment in historic properties in both urban and rural Minnesota, generating jobs and stimulating economic development.

The Historic Preservation Tax Credit was originally included in the House Omnibus Tax bill as a 20 percent credit (HF 2362.) A conference committee of House and Senate members included $3 million for historic preservation grants in the final tax bill (HF 2268) which passed the Legislature on May 21st. Governor Pawlenty vetoed the tax bill on May 30th, therefore the historic preservation grant program it included – as well as the proposed HPTC – will not become law this year.