Congress should preserve economic tools

To the editor:

Congress must consider the importance of economic development at the state and local level when finalizing tax reform. While we have not yet seen the final tax bill, provisions in the House and Senate bills would damage economic revitalization efforts in small towns like Oberlin.

Any tax bill should preserve the following credits and exemptions in their current form: 1) the Historic Preservation Tax Credit, 2) New Market Tax Credits, and 3) tax exemption for Private Activity Bonds.

As a local economic development organization, we have seen the power of these programs to revitalize our historic Main Street, support tourism and local businesses, and grow Oberlin’s tax base. Federal and State Historic Preservation Tax Credits provided critical funding to restore the iconic Apollo Theater in downtown Oberlin. This tax credit returns more to the treasury than it costs. New Market Tax Credits were a critical financing tool for the new Hotel at Oberlin and Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center, which has drawn national conferences as well as leisure travelers to Oberlin. Private Activity Bonds have assisted in financing our nation’s most important public facilities and infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, water and sewage facilities, energy facilities, low-income housing, and countless others.

Removing or reducing these credits and programs would strike a devastating blow to Ohio’s small towns, where redevelopment and preservation of historic buildings allows our communities to thrive as they transition into the 21st century economy. We urge our congressional representatives to preserve these important tools for economic revitalization and growth.

Kristin Peterson, Chair

Sylvan Long, Vice Chair

The Oberlin Community Improvement Corporation Board