National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week

• Steve Stroming
• Project Executive
• Rafn Company

I’ve been a board member of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation for a number of years. This past March was the first time I participated with the Trust’s annual delegation to Washington DC for National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week. This year and for the foreseeable future, it will be more important than ever to make our voices heard by our state representatives and senators.

Complicated Historic renovation projects often do not happen without Tax Credit assistance to developers. On average the Tax Credit program leverages $5 of private investment for every $1 of Federal Funding. In addition, studies show the cost of this program is more than offset by a gain of 20% in Federal tax receipts from projects generated by the Historic Tax Credit Program. Since 1977, over 275 properties in Washington totaling over $1.08 billion dollars have been completed using the Federal Historic Tax Credit program. Despite the good benefits, the program could potentially disappear as congress takes up tax reform, and so would the projects and all the construction jobs associated with them.

Thousands of jobs in our state depend on decisions that will be made in this current session of Congress. The Rafn Company alone will have over $75 million in work during 2017-2018, Cambridge Apartments and Building 9 at Sandpoint, that is funded by the Federal Historic Tax Credit and Low Income Housing Credit programs. The Historic Tax Credit program is providing nearly $20 million in funding for these projects. Building 9 alone will have over 65,000 hours of just Rafn labor. Multiply that by that by dozen of subcontractors and manufacturers that would be impacted if these projects can’t move forward and the result is significant. When we then layer on the impact it would have on the production of the affordable housing and the preservation of these Historic buildings that are part of our regional heritage, the results are disastrous.

Please take the time to let your congress person know the personal importance to you that the Federal Historic Tax Credit Program stays intact. To become a supporter and advocate for historic preservation causes in Washington State, reach out to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation at www.preservewa.org.

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