Historic Preservation Tax Credit 'Graveyard Dead' In the NC Senate
Senator Tom Apodaca gave temporary hope to supporters of the historic preservation tax credit by scheduling a committee meeting only Wednesday, only to later reveal it was an April Fool's Day joke. Senator Apodaca scheduled a meeting of the Ways and Means Committee, which has not meet in years. He said of the bill's chances in the Senate, "As we say back where I live: It’s graveyard dead," going on to say that all bills assigned to the Ways and Means committee are dead.
A bill that the N.C. House passed last week to bring back North Carolina’s Historic Property Tax Credit program is dead in the state Senate, said state Sen. Tom Apodaca of Hendersonville.
“That’s nothing the Senate will handle. It doesn’t match anything we believe the historic tax credit should look like,” Apodaca said in an interview on Wednesday evening. Apodaca is one of the top-ranked state senators and chairman of the Rules Committee -- a role that has great power over the fate of legislation.
Fayetteville leaders say the credit is a tool needed to foster the ongoing redevelopment of the city’s downtown, including the long-suffering Prince Charles Hotel.
The credit would be a percentage of how much a developer spends to rehabilitate a designated historic property and could be used to lower his income tax bill. Developers typically sell such credits to investors to generate cash for the rehab.
Some have said rehabbing an old building is so expensive that it’s not feasible to redevelop a distressed property without the credits. Apodaca disagreed, citing growth in his hometown.
North Carolina ended its Historic Property Tax Credit on Jan. 1. Gov. Pat McCrory, state House Speaker Tim Moore and elected officials from cities and towns statewide have loudly and repeatedly called for it to be reinstated.
After a revived edition passed the House on March 26 and moved to the Senate, Apodaca sent the bill to the Senate Ways & Means Committee. This three-person committee has not met in years. It’s a committee where legislation is buried.
Apodaca had scheduled a meeting of the Ways & Means Committee for Wednesday afternoon. The move caught many in and around the legislature by surprise and worried supporters of the tax credit.
The meeting was scheduled as an April Fool’s Day prank, Apodaca said. He canceled it on Wednesday afternoon, quipping that the committee’s former chairman, a lawmaker from Charlotte who left office in 2012, was unable to attend due to heavy traffic.
The Ways & Means Committee has 11 other bills, most intended to give local school districts more flexibility in setting the start and end dates of school (the dates have been limited by law to protect a traditional summer vacation). Another bill in that committee would establish an independent redistricting commission, instead of legislators, to make legislative district maps.
All bills in this committee are doomed, Apodaca said.
“As we say back where I live: It’s graveyard dead,” he said.