Commerce Committee unanimously approves increase in historic homes tax credit

March 20, 2014

By Ken Dixon | Hearst

The legislative Commerce Committee, just approved an eight-item consent agenda, including the expansion of the state Department of Economic and Community Development’s tax credit for historic homes. The bill’s substitute language differs from the original proposal of raising the $3-million fund to $13 million. Instead, a more-modest $5 million is in the bill, which next heads to the House floor, where it is expected to be referred to the Finance Committee. For those keeping score, it is HB 5004.

State Sen. Gary Lebeau, co-chairman of the committee, said in an interview that this year’s bill would expand on last year’s revisions. “We think there is going to be more of an influx of people coming in and wanting to rehabilitate historic homes,” Lebeau said, adding that mixed-use properties were included last year and the pool of eligible participants was widened. Businesses, individuals and non-profits are eligible, ss well as properties of one to four units. “We decided to go to $5 million,” he said. “That seems like a reasonable amount, now if we can get the Finance Committee to approve it.”

The committee also approved SB 303, which would extend research and experimental expenditure tax credits to pass-through entities; HB 5517, on a study of the state’s manufacturing needs; and HB 5518, on liabilities of applicants for state financial assistance.

“This is a really good bill,” said Sen. L. Scott Frantz, R-Greenwich, ranking member of the committee, adding that the legislation would strengthen already-existing background checks and vetting of business owners. “This is an absolutely necessary,” said Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-Wilton, ranking committee member. “It points out that in many cases, though our vetting processes have been thorough, we often don’t know about it. This will provide more transparency.”