Late this afternoon Governor Terry Branstad will sign legislation that makes significant changes in how the state tax credit for restoration of historic buildings is awarded. Senator Bill Dotzler, Democrat from Waterloo, said these tax credits are an important economic development tool.
“They can help revitalize our communities and make sure that Iowa’s historical culture is preserved,” Dotzler said during remarks in the Iowa Senate in April.
Dotzler said the bill is a “total rewrite” of the program, however, to make sure the incentive is not misused like the state tax credits for TV and film productions were a few years ago.
“We sat down with the attorney general’s office, the Department of Revenue, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the developers across the state of Iowa and those attorneys that represent banks and work with the transfer of these tax credits to come up with a bill that I think is pretty solid,” Dotzler said.
The tax credits for historic preservation had been awarded by a lottery and developers submitted applications even if their project was not ready to begin. Dotzler said that meant some credits were awarded for projects that never got off the ground. The bill creates a new point system for awarding the state tax credits for “historic preservation” and “cultural entertainment districts” and Dotzler said a project must be “shovel ready” to get a credit.
“They will have, though, a claw-back provision in case fraud is discovered,” Dotzler said.
Governor Branstad will sign the bill into law at 4:45 p.m. this afternoon. He’s holding the bill signing ceremony at Salisbury House in Des Moines which received historic preservation tax credits in 2012 and 2013. The historic estate was built in the 1920s by the owner of a cosmetics company. Carl Weeks is credited with the innovation of combining face powder and cold cream — make-up that is now known as foundation. The home is now owned and being restored by a private foundation.
(This story was updated at 2:36 p.m. with additional information.)