The American Tobacco complex in Durham is often cited as what the state’s historic tax credit program has done in terms of helping to revitalize unused or depressed areas in a city, but in fact the program giving property owners credits for rehabilitation and development in historic but neglected areas has helped towns and cities large and small across North Carolina.
The credit’s preservation will be critical to keep revitalization going in some places and in getting started in others.
That’s why Gov. Pat McCrory, who saw the value of the program as mayor of Charlotte, made a fresh pitch this week to create a version of the program the state Senate apparently would be perfectly happy to let go. This version passed the state House overwhelmingly.
The bullheadedness in the Senate comes from leaders who want to focus exclusively on tax cuts (many of them benefiting the most wealthy citizens and large corporations) and do away with most incentives, no matter how much practical good they do.
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To illustrate the program’s value, McCrory brought on, in a press gathering, Rep. Stephen Ross of Burlington, who sponsored the House program. He cited the use of the historic tax credit to help convert a former and long vacant furniture factory in Mebane into over 150 apartments. Without the tax credit program, which is overwhelmingly supported by local government officials, that project would not have happened.