COLUMBUS - State Senator Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) praised the Senate's inclusion of a provision maintaining the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit in the two-year budget bill that it passed today.

"I am relieved that my colleagues have recognized the importance of keeping this important tax credit program intact," said Hottinger. "The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit funds many historic renovation projects around the state that create jobs and enrich our local communities by keeping history alive for future generations." 

Since the program was created in 2007, the state has approved $482.3 million in tax credits for 238 projects. 

The Senate had originally amended its version of the state budget bill to convert the tax credit program to a grant program in order to maximize the total dollar amount available to organizations managing preservation projects. The moratorium on tax credits during the conversion would have halted new projects until 2017, although it would not have affected projects currently in progress. Several projects in Hottinger's district have taken advantage of the tax credit in recent years, and an number of others are in the project pipeline.

The Senate ultimately accepted an amendment submitted by Senator Hottinger to maintain the tax credit while requiring the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) to conduct a study of ways to convert the credit to a grant program with similar qualification criteria. ODSA will be required to submit a report with its findings and recommendations to the legislature by the end of 2015.

"We needed more time to discuss the issue than the budget deadline allowed," said Hottinger. "I am confident that as we study the issue and continue the conversation with state leaders in historic preservation, the best way forward will become clear."

The Senate passed Substitute House Bill 64 today with a 23-10 vote. The bill will soon go to a conference committee to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions.

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