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February Policy Updates

The end of the 2021 Polar Vortex is in sight and warmer days are surely ahead – which means we’re edging ever closer to the June sunset date of the Minnesota Historic Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HTC). The RevitalizeMN coalition, organized by Rethos, New History, and Winthrop & Weinstine, has been hard at work advocating for an extension to the sunset date. Here’s a quick update of things you need to know about our efforts at the state capitol and beyond.

House and Senate Bill Introductions

Bills that would either extend or eliminate the HTC sunset date have been introduced in the House and Senate. In January, Sen. David Senjem (R, Rochester) introduced a bill that would extend the sunset date five years, to 2026, with companion legislation in the House introduced by Rep. Duane Quam (R, Byron). Rep. Cheryl Youakim (DFL, Hopkins) has introduced the bill preferred by the RevitalizeMN coalition members, which would repeal the sunset date altogether. Sen. Jeremy Miller (R, Winona) introduced the sunset repeal in the Senate.

Co-authors in the House include Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL, Golden Valley), Rep. Bob Dettmer (R, Forest Lake), Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL, Minneapolis), Rep. Zach Stephenson (DFL, Coon Rapids), and Rep. Pat Garofalo (R, Farmington). Senate co-authors are Sen. David Senjem (R, Rochester), Sen. Tom Bakk (I, Cook), Sen. Kari Dziedzic (DFL, Minneapolis), and Sen. John Jasinski (R, Faribault).

Bill Hearings in the Senate and House

The Miller bill was heard in the Senate Taxes committee on Tuesday, 2/16 and featured testimony by developer (and Rethos board member) Chris Sherman, Adam Duinick, head of governmental affairs for the carpenters union, and Reclaim Community board president Elicia Kortus from Jasper, MN. The bill was well received, with positive comments and expressions of support from Senators Bakk, Dziedzic, Chamberlain, and committee chair Sen. Carla Nelson. Watch video of the hearing here, beginning at 47:20.

Up next – a hearing in the House Taxes committee scheduled for Tuesday, 2/23 at 1:00. We’re planning to reprise our testimony from earlier this week, but with some new speakers who will help to demonstrate that the HTC is important to communities all across the state. Find the link on the House Taxes committee page to tune in live to the virtual hearing.

Virtual Meetings with Members of House and Senate Taxes Committees

Rethos staff, accompanied by our contract lobbyists from Winthrop & Weinstine, have been conducting virtual legislative visits with members of the House and Senate taxes committees. To date, we have met with ten Legislators. We have more meetings coming up and aim to meet with all Taxes committee members as well as caucus leaders in both the House and Senate. If one of your Legislators serves on a taxes committee and you’d like to join us in these virtual meetings, please let us know! (Check out the committee rosters here: House taxes committee Senate taxes committee) (Not sure who represents you? You can look that up here.)

RevitalizeMN: Ely State Theater

Have you seen the video from RevitalizeMN that features the rehabilitation of Ely’s historic State Theater? We showed this at the Senate Taxes committee hearing, and it’s even more compelling when it streams smoothly. As the video demonstrates, the MN HTC is a critical tool that supports the economic vitality of rural communities across Minnesota. Check out the video on the RevitalizeMN Facebook page or on Instagram – and be sure to like and share it so even more people will learn about this campaign.

Recent Press Coverage of the MN HTC:

Our effort to retain the state Historic Tax Credit is receiving a lot of attention in print media, again thanks to the efforts of the RevitalizeMN coalition. We are encouraged by the positive tone of these articles and the profiles of local projects. To date, articles have been published in MinnPost, Finance & Commerce, Duluth News Tribune, Faribault Daily News, Rochester Post Bulletin, and New Ulm Journal. Keep a lookout for upcoming articles in the Albert Lea Tribune and Minneapolis StarTribune.

Virtual Historic Preservation Advocacy Week in Washington, D.C.:

From March 8th-11th, our nation’s capital will be hosting a virtual advocacy week geared towards historic preservation. Please consider joining Rethos and other RevitalizeMN members as we channel our voices towards the protection and conservation of our state’s historic structures! Advocacy week will feature several themed sessions including policy briefings, virtual advocacy trainings, meet & greets with other Preservation Action members, and additional networking opportunities.

Registration is only $65 for this virtual conference. Registering for the Advocate’s Access option will forward your contact information to the Minnesota advocacy coordinators who are arranging virtual visits with Congressional offices. There has never been a better – or easier - time to bring your voice in support of preservation to Washington, DC! Learn the ropes this time so you’ll be better prepared to join the Minnesota contingent in person next year. To learn more and register visit the Preservation Action Advocacy Week website.


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