Protect Historic Preservation and Brownfields Funding

The Historic Preservation Tax Credit and Brownfields Program had a track record of bolstering economic growth around Michigan. In 2011 the Governor’s proposed budget and new changes to the state tax structure threatened the Michigan Historic and Brownfield Programs, so we launched a campaign to encourage the state legislature to maintain their funding. We saw these programs as economic development tools critical to our cities and towns, so we drafted a letter to help all of you email your Governor, State Representatives and Senators, to ask them to vote in favor of these programs.

While these programs were ultimately eliminated in favor of a new way of funding urban economic development projects by the state, we’re proud that legislators received 1,612 letters from our readers opposing this change.

Here is the text of the letter our readers sent:

Subject: Please make an investment in Michigan with proven results.

Dear [Recipient],
I am writing to urge you to support Michigan’s Historic Preservation and Brownfield programs. The current budget proposals to appropriate only $25 million for the newly created economic development fund, including Historic and Brownfield programs, will drastically reduce the amount of development and investment dollars coming into our communities and downtowns.

These programs are some of Michigan’s most useful tools for creating jobs, stimulating economic activity, and adding to the state’s revenue ledger.

The economic impacts of our Historic Preservation and Brownfield economic development tools are well documented:
— Since 2000, 706 brownfield projects were approved. These projects totaled $12.87 billion in investment (private dollars). The approved tax credit (state investment) was $1.270 billion dollars.

–The Historic Tax Credit(HTC) alone has leveraged $1.46 billion in direct rehabilitation activity and created 36,000 jobs since its enactment in 1999.

–Each $1.00 of credit issued leverages $10.56 in direct economic impact.

–The HTC has leverage $251 million in Federal historic tax credits. This is federal dollars coming back into Michigan’s economy!

–Michigan Historic and Brownfield tax credits make projects feasible when others have given up. It puts underutilized and core urban real estate back on local and state tax rolls.

It’s important to note that these programs are used to fill gaps in the financing of rehabilitation real estate projects and issued only after rehabilitation expenses are incurred. Therefore projects generate significant economic impact, and state and local tax revenue before the credits are issued.

Michigan’s HTC and Brownfield programs are some of the state’s most useful tools for revitalizing older communities. They make rehabilitation projects possible, and those projects drive economic growth in Michigan.

They add jobs and revenue to our economy, value to our communities, and enhance our quality of life.

They help make their communities great places to live, work, and visit. Our dollar-stretched communities cannot afford to lose these credits.

Please make an investment in Michigan that has proven results.

Thank you for your consideration.