Politics & Government

Senator insists bill no substitute for state tax credits

A sponsor of a measure that would give local governments responsibility for historic preservation efforts said Tuesday it’s not necessarily an alternative to a state historic tax credit program – despite his co-sponsor’s previous opposition to the state credits.

GOP Sen. Andrew Brock of Davie County told colleagues that SB 472 would “give local governments the tools regardless of whether they have state tax credits.”

The bill clarifies the authority of local governments to spend money on historic structures.

The bill was endorsed by the Senate’s State and Local Government committee and sent on to the Finance Committee. The action comes after the House passed a version of the state Historic Tax Credit legislation that expired in January. That measure, supported by Gov. Pat McCrory, is a slightly scaled down version of the previous program.

Rucho, who co-sponsored the Senate bill and co-chairs the Finance committee, has sought to lower taxes while eliminating deductions and credits. He has said historic preservation is not a “top priority” for the state and suggested it best be handled by local governments.

Some senators tried to make sure the Senate bill was an alternative to a statewide program, not a substitute.

“I just don’t want anybody to think this as a replacement for (state credits),” said Democratic Sen. Jane Smith of Lumberton. Like others, she said some local jurisdictions are less capable of funding historic preservation than others.

Rose Vaughn Williams of the N.C. League of Municipalities said many mill towns and other communities that could benefit the most from rehabilitation often don’t have the resources to do it.

That sentiment was echoed by Susan Kluttz, McCrory’s Secretary of Cultural Resources. Kluttz, who has promoted historic credits around the state, said they spur economic development and create jobs.

“(They’re) needed in every community,” she said. “Not just those that can afford it.”

Morrill: 704-358-5059