Pa. considers move to help cities capitalize on historic buildings

    Pennsylvania’s Senate has passed a bill intended to lend a hand to cities trying to revitalize themselves by halting the flow of investment outside city borders.

    Commercial developers could apply for up to $500,000 in tax credits for rehabbing an historic structure.

    The logic is simple.

    Renovating an historic building in town is often more expensive than starting fresh in the ‘burbs somewhere.

    Sponsoring Sen. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster, says the proposed tax credit aims to nudge developers toward making the more expensive choice.

    “There’s a growing awareness that we really need to be doing things to help third-class cities,” he said. “And this would help build the tax base, which would be an important source of revenue for the cities.”

    The whole thing would cost the state $10 million if it were approved and fully funded next July.

    But even with the state’s own budget woes, the bill passed with unanimous support in the state Senate.

    It awaits a House vote.

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