At this week’s Finance Committee confirmation hearings for Steven Mnuchin, President Trump’s nominee to head the Treasury Department, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin took the opportunity to defend the historic rehab tax credit program and request the support of the new Administration.

As Preservation Maryland has previously reported, the Federal Historic Rehabilitation tax credit program is currently threatened by comprehensive changes to the federal tax code. The current expectation is that  tax reform legislation will follow Speaker Ryan’s “A Better Way” blue print, released earlier this year. This document recommends eliminating tax credits and deductions, which would include the Historic Tax Credit (HTC), the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC).

The specter of this change prompted Maryland Senator Ben Cardin – regularly heralded as one of the best friends of preservation in the Congress – to ask Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin about plans to overhaul the code and loss of this potential credit. Senator Cardin’s inquiry follows:


Senator Ben Cardin:

“Another infrastructure and community development program that has seen similar success and bipartisan support is the Historic Tax Credit. Working with Senator Collins, I’ve introduced—and plan to reintroduce—legislation that would encourage economic development and job growth across the country by making common-sense changes and enhancements to the Federal Historic Tax Credit.

Since the creation of the credit, the Historic Tax Credit program has generated $78 billion in historic preservation activity to rehabilitate more than 41,250 historic properties, including the creation of over 525,000 housing units, of which approximately 150,000 are low and moderate-income units. Historic preservation programs have created more than 2.36 million jobs nationwide since 1978 (85,058 new jobs in FY 2015). A recent study by the National Trust for Historic Preservation estimates that every $1 of credits generates a minimum of $4 of private sector investment.

In Maryland, the federal Historic Tax Credit has supported hundreds of projects that have spurred economic growth in communities around the state, ranging from the development of a multicultural service center to affordable housing units for teachers and office space for nonprofit educational organizations. Given the President’s goals, do you agree that credits like the New Market Tax Credit and Historic Tax Credit can play a critical role in community redevelopment and infrastructure?

Can you commit to retaining these important incentives in a Trump Administration tax reform package?”

Treasury Secretary Nominee Mnuchin

“Our objective is to grow the economy and economic opportunity. If confirmed, I will work with you and other Members of Congress to ensure that the appropriate incentives are retained.”