The continuing budget crises faced by State governments are continuing to wreak havoc on historic preservation programs and sites across the country. For example, both Iowa and Missouri could face legislative challenges to eliminate their state rehabilitation tax credits in order to close budget deficits in those states. The National Trust is closely monitoring developments in these legislatures to defeat these efforts.
In Washington state, Governor Chris Gregoire eliminated funding for its Main Street program within the Department of Commerce. The program currently serves more than 90 organizations representing communities across the state and has been in existence since 1991. Since then, it has created 11,810 jobs in 3,721 new and expanded businesses and generated $413 million in private investment by leveraging an average of $96 in private investment for every $1 invested in the program.
In response to the potential loss of the program, Representative Dean Takko and Senator Derek Kilmer have introduced bills that would transfer the Main Street program and all associated funding from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. Without the potential transfer, the Main Street program will cease to exist in Washington State. The National Trust has activated its grass roots network in the state to contact their legislators to support the Takko/Kilmer bill.
In Arizona, the State Legislature is devastating parks funding, forcing the closure of all but nine state parks. By the end of March, seven of Arizona’s eight state historic parks will be shuttered. Among parks that will close their doors to visitors are such historic icons as the 1882 Tombstone Courthouse, the Yuma Territorial Prison, and the 1904 Arts & Crafts Riordan Mansion in Flagstaff.
In response, the Arizona Heritage Alliance, the Arizona State Parks Foundation, and the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter are planning a rally on Monday, February 1, 2010 for Environmental Day at the Arizona State Capitol. The rally will feature a brief program with speakers focusing on the devastation to parks and environmental programs and ideas for turning the tide in the face of the state legislature’s budget cuts.
For more information on the rally, please contact Janice Miano at (602) 528-7500 or email@example.com or Sandy Bahr at (602) 253-8633 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted by permission of the Public Policy Department of the National Trust