In downtown Shreveport and across Louisiana the rehabilitation of historic districts through tax credits is working. The findings released in a study that was commissioned by the office of the Lieutenant Governor and carried out by PlaceEconomics, a Washington D.C. firm.
“What we learned is that there’s about 30 states that have state historic tax credits, Louisiana is at or near the top,” says Donovon Rypkema. of PlaceEconomics, who revealed the study at the Louisiana Municipal Association Conference Friday morning.
Every $1 dollar that the state of Louisiana provides in commercial historic tax credits spurs $8.76 in additional economic activity. 24 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes have seen buildings rehabilitated through tax credits, resulting in 1,725 direct jobs and 1,429 indirect and induced jobs.
In Shreveport, PlaceEconomics studied revitalization projects to the Regional Arts Council, Municipal Memorial Auditorium, and upper Texas Street. Rypkema says average investment in rehabilitation projects has grown from $1 million to over $3 million per project in recent years, and the downtown population has grown 90% between 2000 and 2015.
“Six cities we had as case studies and Shreveport was identified as one place where in a relatively short amouht of time, it’s made a huge amount of difference.” says Rypkema.
Louisiana Lieutenant Governor, Billy Nungesser, says the study comes at an important time. All tax credit programs are facing budget cuts or elimination due to state budget shortfalls.
“This is going to be a valuable tool in having the legislators realize, although there’s touch decisions to be made, you’ve got to preserve those things that are adding such value as tourism does,” says Nungesser.