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Legislation & Public Policy Issues in Preservation     


Legislation & Public Policy Issues in Preservation
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Outcome of Debt Ceiling Negotiations Could Pose Momentus Change for Historic Preservation
Historic Preservation Blog from PreservationDirectory.com - Outcome of Debt Ceiling Negotiations, National Trust for Historic Preservation
Contributed By: The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Department of Public Policy
Website: http://www.preservationnation.org/resources/newsletters/trustee-bulletin/Public-Policy-Weekly-Bulletin-2-1-1-2-2-3.html

Congress returned from its Easter Recess this week to begin what could be a months-long negotiation over raising the federal debt ceiling and hopefully forestall a major breakdown in the FY'12 appropriations cycle.  Lawmakers are not eager to repeat the drawn out FY'11 spending cycle that went six months past the start of the fiscal year and required multiple continuing resolutions to finally come to a resolution.  The potential effect of the debt ceiling negotiations on historic preservation funding moving forward could be momentus and possibly spillover into the tax arena if a major agreement is reached between Congress and the Administration.  In an opening salvo to the great budget debate, Senate Budget Committee chair Kent Conrad (D-SD) announced he will unveil his committee's FY’12 budget resolution early next week that will reduce federal spending by $4 trillion over the next ten years.  Included in the resolution is a proposal to raise $1 trillion in revenue from a sweeping tax simplification and reform plan that would also lower marginal tax rates.  Conrad's resolution will set the stage for a budget agreement that is likely to be  a mixture of mandatory budget spending caps; an agreement on reducing entitlements; and, some element of tax reform that targets ‘tax expenditures’ such as credits and deductions as part of a larger agreement on raising the debt ceiling.  The tax reform leg of Conrad's plan mirrors recommendations of the President's Deficit Reduction Commission from last year and could put incentives such as the federal rehabilitation tax credit and historic preservation easements in the cross-hairs.

In addition, the outcome of debt ceiling negotations will affect markups of FY12 spending bills, which were slated to begin in mid-May.  Appropriations subcommittees are unlikely to move forward unless there is at least a temporary debt ceiling target approved by Congress that would allow the federal government to borrow until the end of the fiscal year.  A delay of the FY'12 Interior spending bill (which includes historic preservation funding) markup until June is possible and could provide more time for the Trust and its coalition partners to make the case for a $70 million request for the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) with key subcommittee members.  In a related development, House Historic Preservation Caucus Co-Chairs Michael Turner (R-OH) and Russ Carnahan (D-MO) have circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter asking their fellow Representatives to sign-on to the $70 million request for FY 2012 funding for key historic preservation programs.  Last year, a similar Dear Colleague letter yielded over 100 signatures but this year's iteration has only eight signatures to date, including: Reps. Michael Turner (R-OH), Russ Carnahan (D-MO), Dale Kildee (D-MI), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Charles Rangel (D-NY), David Cicilline (D-RI), James Langevin (D-RI), and Tom Petri (R-WI).  The Trust and its  funding coalition partners hope to get a good cross-section of both Republicans and Democrats to sign the “Dear Colleague” letter for FY'12. 

http://www.preservationnation.org/resources/newsletters/trustee-bulletin/Public-Policy-Weekly-Bulletin-2-1-1-2-2-3.html

The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Department of Public Policy

 


Keywords: Outcome of Debt Ceiling Negotiations, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Posted: May 8, 2011
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