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.

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    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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