SIOUX CITY -- Local officials are encouraging residents to sign an online petition that urges Iowa's congressional delegation to save a federal tax incentive program that has financed the restoration of a long list of historic structures in Sioux City.
The federal Historic Tax Credit, or HTC, program, which has been around for more than three decades, is on the chopping block as part of a Republican-led effort to reform the federal tax code. A bill in the House would eliminate the program while a Senate version would cut the credit in half.
The Change.org petition, titled "Save The Historic Tax Credit," says the incentives are "critically important" to several significant renovation projects on the drawing board, including a $56 million proposal to breathe new life into the historic Warrior Hotel and adjacent Davidson Building.
"I would encourage all of our citizens to participate in this online survey because we have over $89 million of projects right now that will need these credits to become a reality," Mayor Bob Scott said. "These credits are vital to our continued development of our old buildings in downtown Sioux City.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, 130 people had signed the petition, which was started by the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce.
The petition notes the historic tax credits have been an "invaluable development tool" for "significant Sioux City building projects like the Orpheum Theatre, Pierce Warehouse/United Center, Heidman Law Firm, Castle on the Hill, and the Tyson Events Center/Long Lines Rec Center to name a few."
"While Congress works to reform the U.S. tax code, we respectfully urge our elected officials to protect and retain the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) program which has been so important to our local efforts to save, restore, and repurpose historic buildings. Just as this program has been critically important to past redevelopment projects, the HTC will become even more important to future projects," the petition states.
The Warrior/Davidson restoration, for instance, would create a 146-room boutique Marriott brand hotel, complete with bars, restaurants, and other retail outlets. The project would create an estimated 200 to 300 construction jobs, as well as 250 full-time positions once completed.
Copies of the signed petitions will be delivered to Iowa's entire congressional delegation -- Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Reps. Steve King, David Young, Rod Blum and David Loebsack.
The petition states HTC is a nonpartisan issue and noted the Sioux City Council last month unanimously passed a resolution supporting the HTC program and encouraging Iowa's congressional delegation to retain it.