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Senators Come Together to Support Preservation Legislation

Posted on: February 8th, 2012 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments


Written by Erica Stewart

February 6, 2012 was a big day for fans of skilled jobs, green building and community revitalization through historic preservation. Yesterday, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) announced that he, along with Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), would introduce new Senate legislation that would encourage historic rehabilitation in Main Street communities, promote energy-efficiency in rehabilitation projects, and make the credit more accessible to nonprofit organizations. This legislation was introduced in the House last summer, and achieving Senate introduction was the next big milestone for the National Trust and its allies.

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) speaking at the historic Clifton Mansion in Baltimore. (Photos: Eli Pousson, Baltimore Heritage)

The new legislation, the Creating American Prosperity through Preservation (CAPP) Act, would make an already powerful federal historic credit even more so. Over 32 years, the credit has created 2 million jobs; saved 37,000 historic warehouses, factories, and schools; and attracted $90 billion to local economies.

Senator Cardin made his announcement at a press conference at historic Clifton Mansion, which now houses Civic Works, a nonprofit that helps young people prepare for the workforce. The mansion, located in a low-income section of northeast Baltimore, is a poster child for how historic preservation, green energy and community development can intersect - with the federal historic tax credit being the catalyst. Civic Works’ Executive Director Dana Stein talked passionately about how the historic tax credits will make possible the mansion’s $7 million makeover, which will seek LEED Gold certification (a great goal considering their current $17,000 energy bill).

More hard work lies ahead for the National Trust and its allies. Now that both bills have been introduced, our attention will turn toward getting members of Congress on board as co-sponsors. Despite its track record of job creation and community revitalization, the impact of the federal historic tax credit is not widely understood.

In the words of National Trust president Stephanie Meeks, the historic tax credit is simply too important to lose. We will be working hard to educate lawmakers about the power of the federal historic tax credit and the importance of the CAPP legislation. And we’ll need your help.

To join our effort, please take a minute to sign our pledge to help protect and enhance the historic tax credit. 

Erica Stewart is the outreach coordinator for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Public Affairs department.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Advocating for Preservation

Posted on: February 24th, 2011 by National Trust for Historic Preservation


Written by Priya Chhaya

Preservation stands to face some strong financial hurdles in the coming year—and it is not just limited to the losses connected to Save America’s Treasures and Preserve America. That being said, there was some positive news in the President’s FY2012 budget,  and it is important for us to continue to present our case for preservation before lawmakers—to remind them that preservation is about more than just the past—it’s about the economy, jobs, and community.

On February 8, Forum hosted the first of two live chat’s leading up to Advocacy day on March 7-8. While you can read the full transcript for free, here are some quick answers to some basic advocacy questions, and don’t forget to join us for the second chat in the series on March 1 at 2pm ET. (You can register to get a reminder for next Tuesday's chat at that same link.)

What is Advocacy Day?

Advocacy day is a gathering of preservationists from around the country to advocate for legislation favorable to historic preservation. On this day, preservationists meet with legislators or their staff face to face, and includes a coalition of individuals associated with Preservation Action, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions, the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers and more. This year’s Advocacy Day will take place on March 7-8.

What If I can’t come to Washington? Can I still advocate for preservation?

Yes! A lot of advocacy happens at home—with local and state governments as well as by making appointments and calls with members/staff at their in district offices. We highly recommend developing relationships with these offices by inviting them to events associated with preservation prior to Advocacy day.

If someone wants to attend Advocacy Day, what type of research or prep work should be done in advance?

In preparation for Advocacy Day it is important to do the research on your member of Congress and what their districts historic resources might be—and as was emphasized in the live chat, make sure to identify the new members of Congress, as some will require more basic information about preservation as well. In addition to knowing what the talking points are for the year, you also want to talk to your State Historic Preservation Office and be up to speed on major job creation programs (tax credit projects), National Register properties and grants that may have been awarded to the district/state

You can find additional information about these issues on the  Preservation Action or NCSHPO websites.  For a more detailed resource on how to approach your meeting check out Blueprint for Lobbying by Susan West Montgomery and  this handy resource on how to communicate with elected officials.

Check out the transcript for the chat for answers to more questions including: Would you approach a Republican differently than a Democrat? Do you recommend partnering with other state representatives when visiting offices? What follow up do you recommend following Advocacy day?

Are you planning on participating in Advocacy Day this year (either in Washington or through in-district meetings/phone calls)?  For more resources, or to register, visit Preservation Action or PreservationNation.

Priya Chhaya is a program associate in the Center for Preservation Leadership at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She can be found on Twitter @PC_PresNation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

“Have it Your Way” – Statewide Ballot Results from Mid-term Elections

Posted on: November 12th, 2010 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment


Written by Kimberly Kooles

More than just the fate of the 112th United States Congress was decided during last week’s election. Across the nation voters made their voices heard on statewide measures ranging from the creation of state level income taxes for high wage residents to forbidding convicted felons from running for sheriff. In the mix of all this, there are several notable statewide ballot initiatives affecting historic preservation - directly or indirectly - that are worthy of recognition.

In Arizona, Measure 301 to transfer the Land Conservation Fund to the state general fund was defeated 74% to 26% (thankfully!). If approved, this measure would have diverted $123.5 million in conservation funds to the general fund.

California voters had two opportunities to affect historic preservation in their state. Unfortunately, the 58.2% to 41.8% defeat of Proposition 21 means California state park and wildlife conservation programs will continue to be funded through existing state and local funding sources instead of through an $18 annual surcharge would have been added to the amount paid when a person registers a motor vehicle. The surcharge revenues would have provided funding for state park and wildlife conservation programs.

California voters redeemed themselves with the 61.1% to 38.9% defeat of Proposition 23, which would have suspended a state law that requires greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020 until California's unemployment drops to 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters. If passed, the proposition would have abandoned the implementation of a comprehensive greenhouse-gas-reduction program that includes increased renewable energy, cleaner fuel requirements, and mandatory emission reporting and fee requirements for major polluters such as power plants and oil refineries, until suspension ends.

Iowa residents successfully adopted Proposition 1, Iowa's Water and Land Legacy Amendment, with a 62.4% to 37.6% vote. This creates a dedicated trust fund for the purposes of protecting and enhancing water quality and natural areas in the state including parks, trails, and fish and wildlife habitat, and conserving agricultural soils in the state.

In Maine, Bond Issue 3 was passed with a 59.3% to 40.7% vote, providing a consistent approach to refunding the Land for Maine’s Future Fund, the state’s primary vehicle for buying conservation lands and easements.  Issue 3 includes $6.5 million for LMF (including 10% for water access), $1,750,000 for working waterfront projects, $1 million for farmland conservation, and $500,000 for state parks and other land managed by the Department of Conservation.

Nevada voters defeated Proposition 4 to amend the state constitution to revise eminent domain with a 67.3% to 32.7% vote. If voters had approved Proposition 4 - known as the Peoples' Initiative to Stop Taking Our Land (PISTOL) - a constitutional amendment approved in 2008 would have been revised to allow a government to take private property and turn it over to another private interest in limited cases.  As currently written, the PISTOL amendment flatly blocks governments from taking someone's private property and then turning it over to a private business. Any property taken must be for a public use.

In Oregon, Measure 72 successfully passed with a 59% to 41% vote to allow for real-property improvements. Currently, the state constitution forbids lending the state’s credit or borrowing in excess of $50,000 with some exceptions. The measure amends the state constitution to add a new exception to allow the state to issue general obligation bonds to finance acquisition, construction, remodeling, repair, equipping or furnishing of state owned or operated property.

Oregon Proposition 76, the Oregon Lottery Funds for Natural Resources Amendment, successfully passed with a 68.5% to 31.5% vote. Under current constitutional provision, 15 percent of net lottery proceeds are placed in a Parks and Natural Resources Fund, half for state parks, beaches, historic sites and recreation areas, and half for restoration and protection of natural resources, including fish and wildlife habitat and protection of watersheds. When they passed Proposition 76, Oregon voters chose to continue 15 percent funding for the same purposes beyond 2014.

Happily, Rhode Island voters approved Question 4 with a 64.5% to 35.4% vote, which authorizes the State of Rhode Island to issue general obligation bonds, refunding bonds, and temporary notes for the purpose of acquiring all or a portion of land in and around the former Rocky Point Park for the purpose of establishing a public park.

In Washington, Initiative 52 for energy efficiency in schools was unfortunately defeated 56.4% to 43.6%. This bill would have authorized bonds to finance construction and repair projects increasing energy efficiency in public schools and higher education buildings. The measure would have authorized the state to borrow $505 million by issuing bonds to be repaid from future revenue.

If you would like any more information on these statewide ballot initiatives, please contact the Center for State and Local Policy.

Kimberly Kooles is a program associate in the Center for State and Local Policy at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.