Senate Budget Amendment Could Send the Wrecking Ball To Historic Buildings

wrecking-ball

Historic buildings throughout Ohio may fall prey to wrecking balls thanks to an amendment that was added to the budget in the Senate. The intent of this amendment is to halt historic preservation tax credits for revitalizing these buildings.

The amendment in question has united people in construction, the arts and people who love history in an effort to oppose it. Revitalized historic buildings add charm to a neighborhood, attracting people of all ages. In turn, this raises property values and increases the tax base. Many from both sides of the aisle see this tax credit as a win/win and the move to strip it is leaving many people scratching their heads.

This was not included in the House’s version of the budget. It is unclear who is pushing the amendment. It is clear that the public has sprung into action to oppose it. An online petition that was started late last week already has over 1400 signatures.

An article in the Columbus Dispatch highlights the concerns of developers and investors who currently utilize the tax credits to repurpose buildings and in many cases give new life to neighborhoods.

The loss of the roughly $2.5 million in tax credits awarded the prominent Atlas Building project Downtown could potentially put the project in foreclosure, said Scott Pickett, president of the Pickett Cos., a partner in redeveloping the 12-story building at N. High and Long streets.

The $24 million project is about three weeks from completion. Pickett then will submit his certificate for the credits, but wouldn’t expect to receive them for 90 days.

He said he is using the credits as collateral for a bank loan to help finance construction, which includes 98 apartments and 6,500-square-feet of retail space. If the bank no longer has the collateral, he fears it would call in the note.

“People have taken vacant, dilapidated blighted areas Downtown and taken state tax credits to rejuvenate the urban core,” Pickett said.

Utilizing existing buildings is a great way to motivate people to return to an area that had previously been abandoned. Memories make people return to an area they may have long forgot. Given the added cost for maintaining history, it is probable that these buildings would be left to crumble or would be torn down to make way for modern buildings.

 

 

 

 

Kasich, Strickland comparison derailed

When it comes to John Kasich and Ted Strickland, the list of similarities pretty much ends at “governed Ohio.” Most would agree on that.

TedStill every now and again someone makes a ridiculous argument, the latest being this one.

The argument is essentially this: Kasich’s proposal to receive federal funding by expanding Medicaid “mirrors” Strickland’s wish to accept federal funding to build a high-speed rail system.

The problem is, Medicaid, unlike Strickland’s now trashed high-speed rail plan, is a program each state is federally required to provide. Without expanding Medicaid and accepting federal funding, the cost of uncompensated care to hospitals will lead premiums to rise as much as 1.7 percent, according to Americans For Prosperity.

That might not sound like all that much until you crunch the numbers.

The average family premium is more than $14,000 per year. If there were only 500,000 family health plans in Ohio (likely more than that with a state population of over 11 million) premiums would rise $121.8 million more per year for private sector health insurance paid for by workers and employers.

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce cites the increase in health insurance premium costs as its reason for backing Kasich’s proposed Medicaid expansion.

On the other hand, Kasich’s decision not to accept funding for high-speed rail didn’t cost Ohio a dime. In fact, turning it down saved the state some money. Yes, Ohio tax dollars paid to the federal government went to other states, but there was zero additional loss to turning down high-speed rail like there would be without a Medicaid expansion.

There are plenty of opinions, but no matter what your thoughts are on the proposed Medicaid expansion, the fact is it isn’t comparable whatsoever to Strickland’s slow-speed rail fiasco.