Georgia > Concerns about Cost Delay Tax Credit Vote

| March 24, 2015

Georgia Capitol

ATLANTA — Issues centering on costs delayed a vote on legislation designed to enhance tax credits for the renovation of historic buildings.

The core of the issue was the ability, stated in the bill, of developers to sell unused tax credits.  That is a change from the existing law that only allows the actual developer to use (or lose) the credits.

The bill also increases the amount of credits available on any one project from $300,000 to $5 million.

The bill is sponsored by Ron Stephens, who stated in various reports that the state would make no more than $25 million available annually, which would cap any impact the bill would have on the state’s budget.

Some lawmakers fear a double-loss for the state in both losing company income tax revenue and then having these credits for sale on the market, further impacting state revenue.

Communities with strong historical preservation efforts would welcome the bill as it would continue to enhance the architectural attraction of their communities and preserve historic structures.

Georgia has lost development of some historic sites to other states due to a lack of a more aggressive tax credit program.  Project touted to benefit include the Savannah Electric Power Company (already converted to a hotel), Southern Mill in Athens, Maple Street Mansion in Carrollton, and the Clermont Hotel in Atlanta.

Sponsors see it as a job creator, not a tax revenue loser.  Opponents haven’t been convinced the return is proven to take the revenue out of the state’s hands.

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