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Gov. Jindal Signs Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits into Law

Press Release

Location: New Orleans, LA

Today, Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law HB 348 by Rep. Leger -- a Governor's Package Bill -- that extends and improves the residential historic rehabilitation tax credit, and SB 63 by Sen. Murray -- the duplicate of Governor's Package Bill HB 349 -- which extends the commercial historic rehabilitation tax credit. The Governor was joined by state and local officials to sign the two bills in New Orleans at the Saenger Theater, which will benefit from the commercial rehabilitation tax credit program.

Governor Jindal said, "Signing these bills into law encourages the restoration of some of our most beautiful and historic buildings and communities, which supports our continued economic growth and job creation. Louisiana, and New Orleans in particular, has a wonderful culture, a history rich in beautiful architecture, and unique neighborhoods of distinct charm. These historic tax credits will help us revitalize and save this rich heritage of historic buildings for our children and the future."

Rep. Leger said, "I want to thank Gov. Jindal for making these tax credits a priority for this legislative session. These credits will work to keep the important work of rebuilding New Orleans going, while also incentivizing more economic activity in the region. The growth that these tax incentives will create will be well worth it -- and I was happy to work with other members of the Legislature to make sure we got this done."

Sen. Chaisson said, "These credits will do a lot for the economy and history of New Orleans and the state -- and I applaud Governor Jindal for working with the Legislature in getting these passed."

Sen. Murray said, "These credits did a lot for our communities as citizens worked in rebuilding from the aftermath of Katrina. It was important we continued to support our citizens and local businesses -- and that's why I'm proud to have worked in getting these credits passed. The incentives will benefit our regional economy and enrich our historical areas, so New Orleans can continue its progress forward."

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, "Extending state historic tax credits is a win-win for our city and state. They are vital for our economic development, historic preservation, and blight-fighting initiatives, and they will help move our recovery forward. For every dollar spent, these buildings push at least $3.22 into the economy once returned into commerce. The historic Saenger Theatre is just one example of many projects in New Orleans that will benefit from this extension."

Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne said, "Renewing the commercial tax credit for historic structures was our main legislative priority this session. This not only means jobs and economic stimulation in some previously neglected areas, but also puts a renewed emphasis on the contribution that architecture has made toward Louisiana's history and culture as we prepare for the Bicentennial."

Executive Director of the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans Patricia Gay said, "I want to thank Governor Jindal and the Legislature for recognizing the importance of continuing to rebuild and enhance the historic businesses and communities within the New Orleans area. Our historic business environment is indeed an economic resource. These tax credits will undoubtedly continue to draw many investors, residents and visitors to our community each year while advancing the region's economic growth."

HB 348 by Representative Walt Leger extends and improves the residential historic rehabilitation tax credit, which allows homeowners rehabilitating historic or blighted homes to earn a state income tax credit on up to 25 percent of rehabilitation costs. This bill extends the sunset of the tax credit from December 31, 2012, to January 1, 2016, and also enacts several improvements that make the tax credit more accessible to homeowners. Specifically, it lowers the minimum rehabilitation costs to qualify from $20,000 to $10,000, allows any homeowner to access the 25 percent credit regardless of their income level, and raises the credit for blighted homes over fifty years old to 50 percent of rehabilitation costs.

Since 2006, the residential historic rehabilitation tax credit program has leveraged $4.1 million in private investment in Louisiana's historic homes. Approximately 43 new construction jobs have been created as a result of the program, and over $400,000 in tax credits have been generated. Through this program, 22 rehabilitation projects have been completed, and an additional 70 are underway all across the state.

SB 63 by Senator Murray extends the commercial historic rehabilitation tax credit, which allows taxpayers rehabilitating a historic structure located in a downtown development or cultural product district to earn a state income and corporation franchise tax credit on up to 25 percent of rehabilitation costs. SB 63 by Murray is a duplicate of HB 349 by Rep. Leger, a Governor's Package bill to extend the sunset on the tax credit from January 1, 2012, to January 1, 2016.

The commercial historic rehabilitation tax credit has already stimulated the revitalization of multiple notable landmarks across the state:

* The Bywater Art Lofts, in the heart of the historic Bywater neighborhood in New Orleans, which is a 37 loft apartment community on the site of a former garment factory renovated in 2008. The project benefitted from $1.8 million in Louisiana tax credits.
* The Kress, Knox, and Welsh Levy buildings, which are landmarks of the civil rights movement in Baton Rouge, were renovated in 2009 to create a single 65,000 sq.ft. multi-use structure including retail, office and condominium spaces. Approximately $4 million of Louisiana historic tax credits were utilized in the financing of this project.
* The Muller's Lofts rehabilitation transformed an old department store in downtown Lake Charles into a mixed-use development including retail, office and residential units. Approximately $2 million of Louisiana historic tax credits were utilized in the financing of this project.

The commercial historic rehabilitation tax credit is poised to stimulate additional significant projects across the state in the future, including:

* The $60 million rehabilitation of the Saenger Theater in New Orleans, a flagship performing arts theater shuttered since Hurricane Katrina.
* The $30 million redevelopment of the Commerce Building in downtown Baton Rouge.

Since 2002, 117 projects in Louisiana have taken advantage of the commercial historic rehabilitation tax credits, generating total direct investment in the state of over $650 million. These projects supported over 11,000 construction jobs and over 5,700 permanent jobs in Louisiana. It's estimated that every dollar the state invested in the program will result in a return of $3.22 in revenue.

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