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Minnesota’s Historic Tax Credit: The Proof Is In The Pudding

Minnesota’s Historic Tax Credit is officially extended through 2022, saving this valuable program from extinction. The tax credit provides a refundable income tax credit equal to 20% of qualified rehabilitation expenses made to buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places and used for income-producing purposes. The $3.5 billion generated for our state and the 18,660 jobs created have directly supported the growth and prosperity of our state. The 144 buildings that have utilized the tax credit invest in their communities every single day.

We knew that preserving the Historic Tax Credit from the June 30, 2021, sunset was a top priority of ours and set out to build a thriving coalition and movement to do so.

17 historic buildings that have benefitted from the Minnesota Historic Tax Credit

So How Did We Get Here?

Rethos’s efforts in advocating for the Historic Tax Credit have existed for over 20 years, and we were key in the initial 2010 passage. This year’s legislative session posed unique challenges, with a COVID-19 relief-related agenda and entirely remote proceedings. Expanding our efforts to include a robust number of stakeholders to prevent the tax credit from expiring was necessary.

Unique from the beginning, The RevitalizeMN coalition constituted a diverse group of stakeholders, including Rethos, Winthrop & Weinstine, and New History. Alta Via Consulting developed our marketing strategy and media content. Our generous sponsors, including Sherman Associates, Dominium, Commerce Bank, and Weis Builders, were key in supporting our efforts. They represented the areas of developers, bankers and investors, general contractors and specialty construction firms, labor unions, architecture, and engineering firms, and historical consultants. Their generosity allowed us to have a statewide reach.

The coalition name, RevitalizeMN, captured the spirit of our campaign, and our slogan, “Creating Jobs and Rebuilding Communities,” embodies the impact of the Historic Tax Credit.

Graphic of bricks indicating construction jobs created by the Minnesota Historic Tax Credit

What Did We Do During The 2021 Legislative Session?

Storytelling and sharing the proven record of the Historic Tax Credit was at the center of our efforts. We spent the first portion of the legislative session reaching out to legislators and educating them on the Historic Tax Credit’s successes in Minnesota. At the same time, we leveraged a statewide, grassroots advocacy, and media campaign. We had grassroots support from every corner of the state, with hundreds of Minnesotans reaching out to their legislators on behalf of RevitalizeMN. Over 50 stories ran in newspapers and on television networks about our efforts, reaching over 5,000,000 Minnesotans, and we led the nation in state Historic Tax Credit-related media. The media coverage spotlighting our efforts positioned us as a timely and crucial piece of policy that the state was watching.