Ohio mayors say proposed tax overhaul will have negative impact on cities

WCMH photo

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Seneca building in downtown Columbus is one hundred years old this year. Originally a hotel, it is now thriving as an apartment building thanks to a total renovation a few years ago.

Becky West, executive director of Columbus Landmarks Foundation says the Seneca is one of more than 500 historic buildings in Columbus brought back to life with the help of the Federal Historic Tax Credit.

“It has helped that corner of downtown be more stable and it’s helped the buildings around it become more attractive,” West said.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther joined other mayors from around the state, Democrats and Republicans, to voice concern about how parts of the proposed federal tax overhaul will have a negative impact on cities. One example they cited was the proposed elimination of the Federal Historic Tax Credit.

“Often times, getting the financing to do some of these more difficult historic development deals is challenging and so this tax credit is critically important to make these projects go,” Ginther said. “Without it those projects don’t happen.”

Other buildings around Columbus that have been renovated or are undergoing renovation with help from the federal historic tax credit include The Citizens Bank Building, The Atlas, The LeVeque, Cristo Rey and the Wonder Bread Factory.

Becky West says the consequences of eliminating the tax credit would be dire.

“It not only saves so many wonderful historic buildings, it creates a lot of jobs and it really is so far reaching in its impact,” West said.

The Ohio Mayors Alliance called on Congress to slow down and work toward a bipartisan consensus on a tax reform plan that also invests in communities and creates jobs.

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