Despite its inclusion in Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee’s budget proposal, the R.I. House Finance Committee’s budget for fiscal 2015 unveiled recently did not include continuing authorization for the state’s historic preservation tax credit program.
Brought back in the fiscal 2014 budget after a multiyear hiatus, using $34.5 million of tax credits which had been approved in previous years by the state but abandoned by developers, the program this year has fueled 26 projects that are expected to generate nearly $180 million in economic activity in the state.
The governor’s budget proposal included $52 million that is left over from previous budget years, and it was expected that money would be scooped up quickly as well, given that in addition to the 26 projects that received funding for this year’s program, there were 27 more projects that wound up on a waiting list for the tax credits. Advocates for the program say that not re-authorizing it risks losing up to $160 million in construction activity alone, to say nothing of sales and employment taxes.
Did the House leadership make a good choice when it decided to eliminate the historic preservation tax credit from the fiscal 2015 budget?