Moments ago the Senate Committee on State Government, Tourism, Gaming & Historic Preservation passed the historic tax credit bill, S659.  It now moves to consideration by the Senate Budget Committee, which we hope will occur soon – perhaps as soon as next week.  Our thanks to prime sponsor in the Senate, Sen. Barbara Buono, for her leadership in moving the bill ahead.

Please call your Senators to indicate your support for HPRA.


Momentum continues to build for HPRA, the proposed New Jersey state historic rehabilitation tax credit recently passed by the NJ Assembly (see previous post).  Sen. Barbara Buono, our prime sponsor in the Senate, has successfully gotten the bill – S659 – posted on the first relevant Senate committee’s agenda.

State Government, Tourism, Gaming & Historic Preservation Committee
Thurs., Dec. 9, 1:00 p.m.
Statehouse Annex, Committee Room 6, 1st floor (NB:  room assignments are subject to last minute changes)

Three of the five committee members are already co-sponsors (Sens. Shirley Turner (D-Trenton), Robert Gordon (D-Fair Lawn) and Anthony Bucco (R-Boonton).  Please consider making phone calls to chairman Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic City) and Sen. Thomas Goodwin (R-Hamilton Twsp.) to urge their affirmative vote.  Examples of potential projects that would benefit from the tax credit, and the jobs and economic activity that they would generate, continue to be powerful persuaders.  Personal testimony at the hearing, or letters of support addressed to the Committee chair, Sen. Whalen, are also needed.

Be aware that, again this year, the fiscal statement (the OLS estimate of what the proposed program would “cost”) is both negative and incorrect.  OLS refuses to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence from studies in many of the 31 states that already have tax credit programs showing as much as 8:1 return on investment to state treasuries.

You can find accurate fiscal impact information, detailed description of HPRA, links to the bills, reports on economic impacts as measured in 31 states having a similar credit, links to sponsors’ web pages, etc. at

Please let us know of any feedback/response to calls or other outreach.

Meanwhile, we’re looking for an op-ed in the Star Ledger soon from National Trust President Stephanie Meek.

We’ll be blogging status updates right here.

The New Jersey General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee yesterday reported the Historic Property Reinvestment Act (HPRA) with  two minor amendments.  This means the long sought historic tax credit bill will move forward to the floor of the Assembly.  No date for a vote has been set.  Meanwhile, the Senate has yet to take up the bill (S659).  Sen. Jim Whelan’s (Atlantic City) State Government, Tourism, Gaming and Historic Preservation Committee will first need to hear the legislation.  Preservation advocates and supporters of job creation and economic revitalization are urged to contact Sen. Whelan, as well as prime bill sponsor Sen. Barbara Buono, to urge them to move HPRA forward.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee vote:
Pou, Nellie (C) – Yes
Addiego, Dawn Marie – Abstain
Barnes, Peter J., III – Yes
Chivukula, Upendra J. – Not Voting
Conaway, Herb, Jr. – Yes
DiMaio, John – Abstain
Greenwald, Louis D. – Yes
McKeon, John F. – Yes
Peterson, Erik – Abstain
Stender, Linda – Yes
Thompson, Samuel D. – Abstain
Vainieri Huttle, Valerie – Yes


The New Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee has announced it will hold a hearing on HPRA, A1851, the proposed state historic preservation tax credit bill, on Mon., Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. in Committee Room 11, 4th floor, Statehouse Annex, in Trenton. This is the first time in nearly 15 years of efforts to see a state tax credit enacted in New Jersey that the Appropriations Committee has considered this important legislation.

Advocates are urged to call their legislators immediately to ask them to contact their colleagues on the Appropriations Committee.  And please reach out to Committee members (listed below) directly to urge their support for this proven job creating, economic revitalization tool!

Nellie Pou (Paterson),  Chair
Ruben Ramos, Jr. (Hoboken), Vice Chair
Dawn Marie Addiego (Medford)
Peter J. Barnes (Edison)
Upendra Chivukula, Jr. (Somerset)
Herb Conaway (Delran)
John DiMaio (Hackettstown)
Louis D. Greenwald (Camden)
John F. McKeon (West Orange)
Erik Peterson (Flemington)
Linda Stender (Scotch Plains)
Samuel D. Thompson (Matawan)

Legislative contact information is available from the webpage.

For more detailed information on HPRA, go to the Preservation New Jersey webpage>>.

Revitalizing cities and town centers by attracting development investment through a historic tax credit will create jobs and support smart development principles.

The New Jersey State Planning Commission has released its Impact Assessment of the proposed State Plan, and its findings give us another strong argument for a state historic preservation tax credit.  The Impact Assessment quantifies the savings, in both land and money, that the state would likely see by managing future growth according to the “existing centers-based” strategies of the State Plan.  It shows that revitalizing existing communities means significant reductions in road building, water and sewer and other infrastructure and municipal services costs.

The New Jersey State Planning Act requires the State Planning Commission to revise and re-adopt the State Development and Redevelopment Plan every three years (although it’s now six years overdue!). The act further requires that an Impact Assessment be prepared prior to each revision and re-adoption.  The 60,000 acres of land saved by adhering to the State Plan, according the just-published Assessment, would include 17,000 acres of agricultural land.   At the recent rate of 15,000 acres of new development per year, the total savings translate to a 20 percent reduction in land consumption over the next 20 years.  Now that’s Smart Growth!

Also conforming to the NJ Heritage Development Coalition’s positions on job creation, the report estimates that a State Plan-influenced, existing communities development scenario would increase jobs by at least 10 percent in urban and inner-suburban communities that are presently suffering a variety of problems stemming from growth policies that favor greenfield development over redevelopment.

As NJ Future has reminded us this week: “Governor Christie is on record in support of a strengthened state planning process, pledging to improve interagency coordination, discourage suburban sprawl and provide incentives for redevelopment and urban revitalization.”  And he’s also on record as supporting a state historic rehab tax credit as one of those powerful revitalization incentives.

Interesting times.

More than thirty states across the nation continue to reap a bonanza of surging economic activity by providing state historic tax credits to taxpayers undertaking qualified renovations of historic structures. The most successful state programs have been intentionally designed to compliment the existing federal historic tax credit program, creating significant efficiencies for already overburdened developers and spurring more private/public investment than would otherwise occur.

Recognizing this economic upside and the “green” nature of historic preservation, New York State just amended its state historic tax credit program. The previous incarnation had several limitations, especially related to transferring the credit and its modest dollar ceiling of $100,000, which had negligible real world impact on projects costing tens of millions. While the amended legislation is to be cheered as a step in the right direction – greater symmetry with the federal tax credit program and raising the credit ceiling to $5 million per project – the practical effects are not quite so rosy.

As a result of income and other regulations in the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, the majority of owners and developers of historic structures find that they cannot efficiently utilize the earned historic tax credits. Under the federal program, this problem is solved by taking on an investment partner and/or long term lessee for the project who can use the credits in accordance with law. This investment partner and/or long term lessee will provide equity funds to the deal in return for the credits and other financial benefits. In effect, a transfer of the credit occurs to optimize the value of the credits and to stimulate projects that might have otherwise had a gap in their financing sources. Herein lies the Achilles’ Heel of New York’s amended historic tax credit legislation. (more…)