The IMPACT of state tax credits in Oklahoma

Last month the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture released an economic impact study of the Oklahoma historic tax credit prepared by PlaceEconomics. The study documented the overwhelming fiscal impact of the program – every $1 awarded as a state tax credit spurs $11.70 in economic activity in the state. You can read the report summary here. All I can say is WOW!

The numbers reported by PlaceEconomics are stunning, but they are not a surprise. We have seen the impact first hand. It is especially evident in Tulsa, a city that has transformed since we first surveyed the downtown in 2009. Every visit there are new things to do, new places to eat, and more street life. Most of this development has rehabilitated historic buildings and utilized historic tax credits. New construction is now starting to supplement the rehab, and the pattern of renewal is now spreading beyond the city center.

This trend is not unique to Tulsa – nor to Oklahoma. We see it happening everywhere we work. While it is most evident in large urban areas – Tulsa, OKC, St. Louis, Omaha, and of course Kansas City – we also see the rehab dynamic effecting smaller cities like Davenport, Iowa; Topeka and Wichita, Kansas; and Springfield and St. Joseph, Missouri. The synergy of historic rehab is evident in still smaller communities. Places like Trenton, Sedalia and Lee’s Summit, Missouri; Enid, Skiatook, and Bartlesville, Oklahoma; and Lawrence, Pittsburg, and Independence, Kansas.

This trend is not likely to abate soon. Study after study confirms that historic rehabilitation provides an economic impact that is rivaled by few other incentives. Preserve on!

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