With the New Jersey Assembly’s overwhelming affirmative vote yesterday in favor of the Historic Property Reinvestment Act (HPRA, A-1851), the long-sought historic rehabilitation tax credit bill is now firmly on Governor Christie’s desk awaiting his signature. Four previous New Jersey Governors have been unable or unwilling to make New Jersey the 32nd state to provide a powerful incentive for homeowners and commercial property owners to invest in their historic buildings, and in their communities. Now Gov. Christie can make history when he signs the bill, providing homeowners with badly needed tax relief, and finally attracting the hundreds of millions of dollars in commercial historic property redevelopment that have been consistently bypassing New Jersey.
New Jersey is being dramatically bypassed by major investors, who are spending hundreds of millions of dollars and creating thousands of both construction and permanent jobs in the surrounding states, all of which offer the tax incentives similar to that proposed in HPRA. In 2010, five nearby states – Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maryland – saw the completion of 113 major rehabilitation projects on historic commercial buildings worth $998 million in private investment. Each of those states offer a historic tax credit. New Jersey, which does not yet have similar tax relief in place, had just one completed historic rehab project, worth $4 million. Our state, in the throes of economic crisis, net out-migration of people and jobs, and private investment at a virtual standstill, can no longer afford to watch hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment flow to all the states surrounding us while New Jersey languishes.
Gov. Christie has an unprecedented opportunity to enact this measure, which has been a proven generator of net state tax revenues, jobs and community revitalization in 31 states. We encourage him to seize the moment and make history by signing HPRA.