Friday, November 20, 2009

Job Stimulus Package May Provide Opportunity for Historic Preservation Grants

Good news on the Green Restoration front!
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Public Policy Weekly Bulletin November 20, 2009
House Democratic leaders began assembling proposals for a jobs stimulus package this week in an effort to jumpstart job creation and address the 10.2 percent unemployment rate across the country. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D‐MD) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D‐CA) have asked committee chairmen to submit ideas for a bill that could pass the House by its target adjournment date of December 18th. Although no final decisions have been made about the size and makeup of the stimulus, the House jobs package is almost certain to include extensions of expanded unemployment and health benefits that were part of the economic stimulus law (PL 111‐5) enacted in February. Beyond that, Democrats are considering more funding for highway and other infrastructure projects they believe can create jobs as well as providing more aid to state governments facing budget shortfalls and offering new tax incentives, including one for businesses that add employees. Senate leaders also want to move a bill that focuses on jobs, but probably will not be able to act until early next year. Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D‐MT) said his staff is preparing a list of job‐creating ideas in response to the House leadership's actions.
Preservationists are hopeful that any jobs stimulus package will include grants for historic preservation rehabilitation projects, which have been very successful in producing jobs quickly. Congress last enacted historic preservation grants for job creation back in 1983, providing $25 million in grants through the State Historic Preservation Offices which, in turn, provided a $42 million match and created a $67 million jobs act program. According to the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, this program ended up creating over 14,000 full‐ and part‐time jobs in 955 historic rehabilitation projects at a cost of $6,693 per job.