New laws from Sen. Libby to support affordable housing, preserve historic downtowns takes effect this month

Posted: August 24, 2022 | Senator Libby

AUGUSTA — A new law sponsored by Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, that extends the Maine Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit took effect on Monday, Aug. 8. The tax credit helps improve access to affordable housing options while preserving Maine’s historic buildings and downtowns.

“This program has been incredibly successful in the past, and with Maine in dire need of more housing options, extending the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit is just common sense,” said Sen. Libby. “When new housing options are developed with an eye toward preserving our historic buildings and downtowns, we get the best of both worlds: Honoring the Maine we know and love, while ensuring Mainers today and in the future have quality, affordable places to live. This program successfully combines what is good for our economy with what is good for our way of life, and I’m grateful this tool will now be available until at least 2030.”

The bill, LD 201, “An Act To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Promote Weatherization in the Buildings Sector by Extending the Sunset Date for the Historic Property Rehabilitation Tax Credit,” extends the sunset date for the Maine Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (MHRTC) from 2025 to 2030. The MHRTC incentivizes business and real estate owners as well as property developers to rehabilitate and reuse income-generating historic buildings in Maine. The credit encourages investment in downtown areas to spur revitalization and to create affordable housing. The MHRTC helps encourage redevelopment of housing located within walking distance of downtown stores and services, which reduces the need for new construction and the dependence on motorized transportation.

Since the program began in 2008, almost 1,300 affordable homes have been created or preserved, and almost 700 new full-time, year-round jobs have been generated by businesses occupying commercial spaces and in building maintenance. To date, the program has generated $3 million more in state and local tax revenues than it has cost in tax credits.

All non-emergency laws take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die unless otherwise specified. 

Other laws championed by Sen. Libby that took effect this year include measures to combat high-energy prices, improve access to health care and prescription drugs, promote economic opportunity and support working families, seniors and veterans.