Warren proposes compromise for tax credits
North Carolina’s historic tax credit program may still have a chance of being revived in the General Assembly.
Last week, a historic tax credit bill was referred to the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee, considered a sign of the apathy toward the measure. The committee meets rarely. Republican Sen. Tom Apodaca, who chairs the committee, last week said the Senate isn’t interested in the bill, which passed the House by a count of 98-15. The bill was introduced by Rep. Stephen Ross, a Republican who represents a portion of Alamance County.
Now, Rep. Harry Warren, a Republican who represents District 77 in Rowan County, plans to introduce a compromise bill that he hopes will include attractive provisions to both the House and Senate.
“All indications are that the Senate is not going to act on Ross’ bill based on the fact that it was put in the Ways and Means Committee and conversations I’ve had with several senators,” Warren said.
Warren’s bill would be based off of the historic tax credit program that expired at the conclusion of 2014, he said. The previous program started in 1998 and provided a tax credit starting at 20 percent. Warren wouldn’t discuss exact details of his proposed bill, saying he first wanted to discuss his bill with Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz and Gov. Pat McCrory’s office. Kluttz in early 2015 embarked on a statewide tour to tout the value of the historic tax credits. McCrory joined her at several stops, including Salisbury.
Warren said his proposed historic tax credit program would include a form of local government contribution to historic rehabilitation tax credits.
A local government contribution to the program, likely in the form of a property tax break, has been a rallying point for opponents to restoring historic tax credits identical to the program that expired in 2014. Proponents of the bill that passed the house cite the fact that smaller municipalities may not be able to afford a type of local contribution.
“I do think that the Senate will find the compromise bill more palatable,” Warren said. “I hope it will serve as a basis for conversation on how we can reach a compromise.”
Warren said he’s discussed the bill with multiple members of the house and already has supporters lined up to sponsor the bill. Rep. Jonathan Jordan, a Republican who represents Ashe and Watauga counties, has agreed to be a sponsor of the compromise measure, which could be introduced April 13 at the earliest, Warren said.
Warren said the historic tax credit program is a program the state, if needed, could do without. However, he said the historic tax credits have resulted in significant benefits in Salisbury, Rowan County and North Carolina.
Some of the Salisbury projects that have used the tax credit, include: the Hedrick Block Building, which houses Pottery 101 on South Main Street; The Yancey-Hardiman Building, the location of Bangkok Downtown and offices on East Innes Street; Phil’s Building, the home of Literary Book Post on South Main Street and Go Burrito’s building on West Fisher Street.
In total, 51 non-income-producing properties used the tax credit from 1998 until the credit’s expiration. The total estimated investment for non-income-producing investments in Rowan County is $8.7 million. Similarly, 55 income-producing projects have used the credit since 1998.
Rowan ranks fourth in the state for the number of commercial tax credit projects since 1998.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246
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