March 15, 2011
309 Cumberland Avenue
Portland, ME 04101
CONTACT: Kimberly Ballard
Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine
in favor of LD 742,
“An Act To Eliminate the Sunset Date of the Maine Historic Preservation Tax Credit”
March 15, 2011
Senator Trahan, Representative Knight and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation. My name is Nancy Smith and I am the Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine. As many of you know from our previous interactions with the committee, GrowSmart Maine is a statewide non-profit membership-based organization working at the intersection of economic development and conservation to grow Maine's economy, protect its distinctive character, and enhance our state's quality places.
As a part of our commitment to strengthening Maine’s economy, GrowSmart Maine is particularly enthusiastic about well grounded, thoughtful and creative proposals which seek to grow the economy in a sustainable manner while at the same time preserving our state’s unique character and quality of place. We believe this bill fits that description perfectly. You have heard from a variety of perspectives the value of this tax credit; measured in job creation, downtown vitality, and the intrinsic value of saving these historic buildings from demolition.
I wish to add to this discussion the perspective related to public infrastructure. Because this tax credit is most often used within our downtowns, as these buildings are rehabilitated for reuse, developers tie in to existing sewer, water, and utilities, along with sidewalks, roads, and public transit. These projects, made possible by this tax credit, lead to the very efficient use of public resources.
I would also reinforce something Senator Rector stated in his introduction of this bill. With the removal of the sunset and the inclusion of a report back to this committee every four years, this proposal creates the appropriate combination of providing a consistent setting for the business community, while requiring accountability in demonstrating the value and impact of this tax credit.
GrowSmart Maine evaluates legislation from several perspectives as we consider the relevance to our mission. We have found value in reviewing the benchmarks highlighted in the Measures of Growth in Focus Annual Report, released each year by the Maine Economic Growth Council, under the Maine Development Foundation. The Historic Preservation Tax Credit provides a business incentive that can be tied to several of these benchmarks, including #11 Cost of Doing Business, #14 State and Local Tax Burden, #15 Transportation Infrastructure, #17 Affordable Housing, and #24 Population of Service Center Communities. I know of few other opportunities which provide this significant and wide-reaching level of impact to Maine's communities and our economy.
Thank you for the opportunity to present these remarks.
I'd be pleased to answer any questions regarding GrowSmart Maine’s support for LD 742.
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