Opponents fear repeal of LA tax credit would deter development - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Opponents fear repeal of LA tax credit would deter development

The Robinson Film Center is one of the businesses that benefited from the historic tax credits. (Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA News 12) The Robinson Film Center is one of the businesses that benefited from the historic tax credits. (Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA News 12)
(Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA News 12) (Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA News 12)
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

A bill the Louisiana House of Representatives is considering could repeal historic tax credits and hinder the development of Shreveport's downtown.

Liz Swaine, of the Shreveport Downtown Development Authority, says House Bill 362, by Rep. Barry Ivey, would repeal the tax credit and prevent further improvements to downtown buildings.

Developers are able to use the tax credit to get economic incentives for the rehabilitation of historic buildings.

Swaine says they get a tax credit for 25% of the qualified costs that go toward preserving the historic structure. 

Shreveport Councilman Jeff Everson says he understands why lawmakers would want to cut the program to save the state money.

"Sure, it costs money. All government programs are going to cost money. But this is one where it makes more money than it costs."

Businesses in buildings that have used the credit include Robinson Film Center, Artspace and the downtown location of Rhino Coffee. 

Swaine says the tax credit serves as a buffer to help with the cost.

"Once you get into it, there are going to be things that you never realized were wrong with that building. It's going to end up costing you more than you thought that it would," said Swaine.

"I love Artspace. That's like my favorite place to go," said Ashanti Smallwood, who wants to see more businesses like Robinson Film Center in restored buildings.

"The way that we were able to build this theater in downtown Shreveport is through those tax credits," said Meghan Hochstetler, the film center's executive director. "So we're thankful for them and we're thankful to be here on Texas Street in downtown Shreveport."

Hochstetler says they were one of the only businesses in downtown for a while, but now that's changing. 

"There are so many exciting things happening in downtown and none of that would be happening without those tax credits."

Swaine was at a meeting Thursday of the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation. She says they have been following the legislative session.

House Bill 362 has not been heard by the House yet, but they are hoping the tax credit stays in place.

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