Pa. Businesses Eligible For Tax Break To Restore Historic Buildings

Mary Wilson

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.

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