TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Improving Tax Incentives for Historic Preservation

David J. Kohtz (J.D. 2012, Texas), Note, Improving Tax Incentives for Historic Preservation, 90 Texas L. Rev. 1041 (2012):

Historic preservation laws are increasingly controversial, and their perceived unfairness has led to calls for their repeal. In his note, David Kohtz argues that policymakers should condition tax incentives on some form of public access to efficiently produce the public benefits that justify the incentives. He first examines the justifications for historic preservation tax incentives, concluding that public access is essential to effective incentive programs. Next, he critically reviews public access provisions in selected statutes, focusing on access to private residences. The programs provided by these statutes, he explains, fall into three categories: (1) physical access, (2) visual access, and (3) virtual access. Kohtz concludes that it is only by providing at least one of these types of access that historic preservation tax incentives are justified.

David Listokin (Rutgers University, School of Planning and Public Policy) & Siona Listokin-Smith (George Mason University, School of Public Policy), Improving the Incentives for Historic Preservation: A Reply to David Kohtz, 90 Texas L. Rev. See Also 285 (2012):

David Kohtz considers the justification, efficiency, and public policy provisions of such tax incentives. Kohtz’s justification discussion oversimplifies and has a tenuous relationship to the public access mandates while his efficiency discussion, which equates efficiency with public access, undershoots a more complex economic framework of what constitutes efficient policy. Nonetheless, Kohtz’s review of the current state of the art and future recommendations for change concerning public access in the historic preservation tax incentives are a timely contribution to the literature. We especially like the note’s conceptualizing a multi-dimensional model of access in the incentives ("physical," "visual" and "virtual"), and we suggest an additional access component that we label as "policy."

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