Businesses in Pennsylvania now have extra incentive to set up shop in historic buildings, instead of starting with an untouched piece of land.
A new law creates a tax break for investors and developers who rehabilitate a property in an area that’s been stamped historic.
The idea itself is a kind of historic entity – it was first introduced more than a decade ago, according to the nonprofit Preservation Pennsylvania.
Sponsoring Sen. Lloyd Smucker says it took 16 years to pass.
“That’s a short amount of time compared to many laws!” added Smucker, R-Lancaster, with a laugh.
It will cost the state $3 million a year, although Smucker says he originally pushed for $10 million.
The 25 percent state tax break comes on top of a federal tax credit of 20 percent.
Only commercial projects are eligible, as a way to contribute to a city’s tax base.
Many third-class cities such as Lancaster and Johnstown have a plethora of historic buildings and are struggling with dwindling tax revenues, in part because they’re home to many tax-exempt properties.