On April 8, just a few days before the end of the 2016 session of the Maryland General Assembly, the state’s Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit was re-authorized by both Houses of the Legislature.

After a unique and challenging legislative session, preservation advocates were able to celebrate the final passage of the Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit. The legislation (SB759) was sponsored by Senator Richard Madaleno of Montgomery County and Delegate Jay Walker of Prince George’s County. The passed legislation now heads to Governor Hogan for his signature.

The new legislation keeps much of the highly successful program the same, but also makes several key adjustments that were proposed by Preservation Maryland, including:

  1. Returns the program to its original name, the Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit, instead of the previously confusing title of Sustainable Communities.  Preservation Maryland proposed this amendment to assist with marketing of the program.
  2. Eliminates the requirement that small business tax credit projects be located in designated Sustainable Communities. While a laudable goal, in practice this requirement eliminated the ability of isolated rural structures and income-producing historic farms from utilizing the program. Preservation Maryland heard the concerns from rural constituencies and worked to get this change adopted.
  3. Allows federal grant funds to be used when calculating project costs. While this may seem like an unimportant issue – this change will allow projects coupling historic rehab tax credits with low-income housing grants and subsidies to continue. Preservation Maryland worked with members of the Senate Budget and Taxation committee to address this issue and make certain this important work could go on unimpeded.
  4. In addition to several minor technical changes, the legislation also re-authorizes the program for five full years – the longest re-authorization since the creation of the tax credit. This five year authorization will give businesses more certainty about the program and allow the preservation community to focus on other policy issues in the coming legislative sessions.

Preservation Maryland Executive Director Nicholas Redding explained,

This is a big victory for historic preservation in Maryland. This job creating tax credit has saved thousands of historic structures, and with this five year re-authorization, we expect it will save thousands more. Now our attention turns to making sure the Hogan Administration includes this program in future years’ budgets.

To learn more about the program and how to apply for credits, please visit the website of the Maryland Historical Trust.