Political Notebook

Tax reform bill could put Macon revitalization in danger, agencies say

This April 4, 2011, Telegraph file photo shows the old Dannenburg building at 476 Third Street before it was redeveloped into commercial and loft apartments. Historic Macon Foundation and NewTown Macon officials say a 2017 tax reform bill could end the historic tax credit program that was instrumental in rehab projects like the Dannenburg Lofts.
This April 4, 2011, Telegraph file photo shows the old Dannenburg building at 476 Third Street before it was redeveloped into commercial and loft apartments. Historic Macon Foundation and NewTown Macon officials say a 2017 tax reform bill could end the historic tax credit program that was instrumental in rehab projects like the Dannenburg Lofts. bcabell@macon.com

A tax credit that’s spurred $82 million in investments in Macon could be coming to an end.

Local agencies and Mercer University released a statement Thursday saying ending the federal historic tax credits would strongly limit the ability to revitalize downtown and historic buildings in other parts of Macon. The tax credits are not included in a tax reform bill being pushed by U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), who serves as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

The historic tax credit was added to the tax code in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. The National Trust for Historic Preservation reports that the tax credits have not only been instrumental in preserving 42,000 buildings but also have creating 2.5 million jobs and $131 billion in private investments.

And in Macon-Bibb County 178 properties have benefited from the tax credits, Historic Macon Foundation said in a statement.

“Without the federal historic tax credit Macon’s renaissance would be in jeopardy,” Historic Macon executive director Ethiel Garlington said. “The tax credit program creates construction jobs, drives heritage tourism, and has an exponential effect on our local economy.”

Downtown booster agency NewTown Macon leaders are also worried what the end of the program would mean. The credits were used to redevelop buildings into properties like the Dannenburg Lofts, Lamar Lofts and the Lofts at Silver. There are also 13 new downtown businesses that opened in rehabbed storefronts with the help of the tax credits, the agency said in a news release.

“Put simply, downtown Macon would not be revitalizing without the federal historic tax credit,” said Josh Rogers, president and CEO of NewTown Macon. “Moreover, ending the federal historic tax credit would actually cost the government more money than it would save in lost jobs and lost investment in downtowns across the country.”

Stanley Dunlap: 478-744-4623, @stan_telegraph

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