Protection of the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program during congressional tax reform debate is crucial for Sioux City.

You can help send this message to Washington in loud and clear fashion.

Elimination of the program, administered by the National Park Service and Internal Revenue Service in partnership with state historic preservation offices, is part of the proposed U.S. House tax reform bill, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. A Senate tax reform bill retains the program, but cuts the credit in half.

Through the program, a 20 percent income tax credit is available for the rehabilitation of buildings determined by the Interior Department, through the National Park Service, to be “certified historic structures.”

Earlier this month, the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce began a Change.org online petition in support of the program, called "Save The Historic Tax Credit."

We encourage not only Sioux Cityans, but Siouxlanders to sign the petition, which will be delivered to all members of Iowa's congressional delegation, both House and Senate.

According to the Sioux City Economic Development Department, 257 Iowa projects reflecting more than $1 billion in total development costs received federal historic tax credits between 2002 and 2016. During that period of time, credits were used for $60 million in Sioux City redevelopment projects, including the Orpheum Theatre, the former Martin Hotel building, the former Central High School, Municipal Auditorium, the Williges building and several Historic Fourth Street structures.

This year, developers have announced plans to seek federal historic tax credits for additional high-profile projects, including renovation of the former Warrior Hotel building, the Davidson Building, the Commerce Building, a building most recently occupied by Hatch Furniture and the former Methodist Hospital building. Those planned projects represent more than $100 million in capital investment, according to the city's Economic Development Department.

Without federal historic tax credits, it's hard to imagine any of the completed or planned projects happen.

Retention of the federal historic tax credits program isn't only in the interests of Sioux City and Iowa, but it's in the interests of the country. If anything, in our view, this program - in addition to local and state economic benefits, these credits produce $1.20 to $1.25 in revenue to the U.S. Treasury Department for every dollar invested - should be expanded by increasing the credit to something more than 20 percent.

By any measure, the program is a winner.

Tell our lawmakers on Capitol Hill as much.

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