Responses to Rethos’ Legislative Candidate Survey are in and they continue to show strong bipartisan support for historic preservation activities.    


Seven candidates for Minnesota Senate and 13 for the state House of Representatives responded, including 13 DFL members, six Republicans, and one Independent. Candidates responded from 19 Legislative districts from all over the state, from Clay County in the northwest to Houston County in the southeast and ranging from population centers like Hennepin and Anoka Counties to rural Faribault County.  


Despite this breadth of diversity in respondents, candidates agreed on general topics, especially on the importance of the Minnesota Historic Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit (MN HTC). The MN HTC was due to sunset on June 30, 2022, and the sitting Legislature effectively allowed it to expire. Most survey respondents feel that the MN HTC should be reinstated based on its broad economic impact, as well as the spaces for affordable housing, childcare, and commercial businesses that historic rehab projects can provide. Survey respondents noted that historic buildings offer a sense of identity and shared history in communities across Minnesota. 


Candidates also agree on the kinds of existing places they identify as highly valued within their own districts and communities. They listed municipal buildings and downtown areas, churches, state parks, a covered bridge, and even the Dairy Queen where the Dilly Bar was introduced. 


Some unique viewpoints were revealed regarding specific ideas to further preservation activity, like various government agencies, nonprofits, and private entities coordinating to achieve goals. One candidate mentioned that the changing climate will bring unexpected challenges and the wisdom in preparing for that to impact existing buildings.  


View the survey questions we asked and answers from the 20 candidates who responded at the link below.

$16 back for every $1 spent in Greater Minnesota is a good investment for the state.

- John Hest, MN 04-B, DFL


Tax credits are the relief that property managers and redevelopers need to enable them to do the quality work that's necessary to preserve our history and healthy homes.

- Scott Hesselgrave, MN 67-A, R


The Minnesota Historic Tax Credit sunsetted on June 30, 2022. Every day that goes by, people suffer from the lost opportunities, jobs, housing units, and vitality that rehabilitated buildings could have brought to communities across the state.


According to the most recent data available, the Minnesota Historic Tax Credit has generated $5 billion in economic activity since 2011 – a whopping $1.245 million PER DAY, just from these projects. At that same rate, as of July 20, 2022, Minnesota has already lost out on nearly $25 MILLION OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY due to the expiration of the Minnesota Historic Tax Credit alone.


Since 2011, the MN Historic Tax Credit has contributed to

$1.9 billion of labor income – or about $473 million per day. That’s almost $9.5 MILLION in lost wages just since the HTC sunset date.


Time and weather will continue to take a toll on underutilized and vacant buildings until the Minnesota Historic Tax Credit – one of the most impactful economic development tools ever established – is reauthorized. Help us advocate for the #MNHTC! Follow us on social media to learn how.

Headshot of Erin Hanafin Berg, Director of Rethos Policy Institute

Message from the Director

Welcome to the Rethos Policy Institute, a resource for elected leaders, local and state government officials, active community members, and everyone interested in promoting the best practices in public policy around historic preservation and building reuse. 


Rethos has been doing this work for decades, but we have now organized our public policy research, advocacy, and education into this single program. We will be the venue for leading change in all the areas in which preservation is relevant: equity and inclusion, sustainability and environmental justice, and economic revitalization. Follow us on social media to stay in touch with the latest updates about the Rethos Policy Institute.

Public policies, whether in the form of legislation, zoning ordinances, or recommendations from civic advisory boards, form the basis upon which our shared historic preservations goals and ambitions become realized. Forward-thinking communities are always looking for the most relevant and useful policy ideas and research-informed practices to help guide their work. It is our objective to be a resource for you and your fellow leaders, ensuring the best outcomes for the people and places you hold dear. 


Your voice is needed as we continue to move forward together. Please participate in our events, educational sessions (in person and online), and share your ideas and questions with us and other people working every day to preserve historic places and tell important stories. Together we will find and share solutions to challenges, identify opportunities, and craft the most beneficial policies, laws, and processes to meet the needs of our communities. 


Thank you for your willingness to come along on this journey! 




Erin Hanafin Berg 

Director, Rethos Policy Institute 

Policy News

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Elected officials from both parties support Historic Tax Credits.

“For every dollar we put into this...
it generates in the neighborhood of about $9.50 of economic activity.
So it’s just a tremendously great project I think in terms of saving historical structures, which are important to a lot of Main Streets across Minnesota.”

- Senator David Senjem, MN-25, R

"I support the Historic Tax Credit extension. We have a lot of beautiful {iconic} buildings in this state that are a part of our history. And I think this will help preserve them and maybe repurpose them.”

- Senator Kari Dziedzic, MN-60 – DFL

28,480 jobs have been created since the
Historic Tax Credit was enacted in Minnesota in 2011.

About the Minnesota Historic Tax Credit

Minnesota's Historic Tax Credit Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit (MN Statute 290.0681), passed into law in 2010, has been a successful economic development tool for revitalizing distressed, vacant, and underutilized historic properties throughout the state. The credit provides a refundable income tax credit equal to 20% of qualified rehabilitation expenses made to buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places and used for income-producing purposes (including office, industrial, retail, hospitality, and rental residential).

Approximately 6,000 housing units have been created or retained in Minnesota through the use of Federal and State Historic Tax Credits since 2011!

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