Nebraska Mainstreet Revitalization and Job Creation Act
Legislative Bill 191 would create a credit against Nebraska income tax for investment in the rehabilitation of a historic building or a building that contributes to a historic district. Baird Holm developed this legislation and lobbied for it pro bono in 2012. We continued working on this effort in 2013, supported by a committed and generous group of interested developers and financial institutions.
State historic tax credits are proven mechanisms for driving historic preservation and economic development in large and small communities. Over 30 states offer such credits, including most states surrounding Nebraska.
Near the end of the recently-completed legislative session, the Revenue Committee of the Nebraska Legislature advanced an amended version of LB 191 to General File. General File is the first of three “readings” by the entire Legislature. A bill must receive 25 votes on General File to advance to Select File, and again on Select File to advance to Final Reading. With 25 votes on Final Reading, a bill moves to the Governor for approval or veto. The Revenue Committee’s amendment limits the 20 percent income tax credit to the first $5,000,000 of qualified rehabilitation expenses.
Unfortunately, with only four legislative days left after the committee advanced the bill, there was not enough time for the Legislature to advance the bill further this year. Because this is the first year of the two-year biennium, however, the Legislature can take up the bill at the beginning of next year’s session in January 2014. This will avoid going back to committee and will allow the full body to immediately take the bill up on the floor, before new bills advance out of committee.
We may seek to add an emergency clause to the bill as well. An emergency clause means a bill takes effect upon the Governor’s signature, rather than 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for the year. It also means a bill needs 33 votes to advance, instead of the typical 25 votes. With the emergency clause, the bill could become law next spring. The State Historic Preservation Office may start accepting applications prior to that date, but they would not be able to approve them until the law takes effect.