The Georgia Trust


Passage of legislation and appropriations require the involvement of many people. The following summary includes legislation in which the Trust played an active or leading advocacy role.

GaPA is currently working to pass HB 851, a technical corrections bill to amend the Georgia State Income Tax Credit for Rehabilitated Historic Property (OCGA 48-7-29.8). The proposed changes are as follows:

Raises the $5,000 per project cap to $100,000 for residential properties and $300,000 for

Increases the credit to 25%, from 10% for residential and 20% for commercial

Permits transfer of the tax credits (one time) to facilitate funding

With the continuation of the national and state economic downturn, GaPA continued its
efforts to maintain current funding levels for preservation-related programs and services.
Unfortunately, several programs suffered a reduction in funding in the FY2005 budget.

In addition, GaPA advocates worked to pass Senate Bill 407, a bill to establish a special
license plate to benefit historic preservation funding. Introduced by Senators Eric Johnson,
Brian Kemp, Randy Hall and Ginger Collins, the intent of this legislation is to use the net
proceeds of the sale of these license plates to fund historic preservation in the state through
the Georgia Heritage Grant program, administered by DNR’s Historic Preservation Division.
The bill passed the Senate on February 2nd and was favourably reported by the House Motor
Vehicles Committee on March 24th. While S.B. 407 received strong bi-partisan support in
both the Senate and House, the bill did not pass the full House before the conclusion of the
General Assembly’s 2004 legislative session due to the heavy level of partisan activity
associated with the FY2005 budget, HOPE Scholarship, Tort Reform and other high-profile
bills. GaPA will continue to advocate for passage of the historic preservation license plate in
order to utilize both state funding and voluntarily donated revenue from the special license
plate to increase overall funding for the Heritage Grant program.

In light of the national economic downturn and resulting need to reduce the state budget,
GaPA’s top priority for the 2003 legislative session was to maintain current funding levels for
preservation-related programs and services.

In addition, GaPA worked to strengthen the state tax credit for historic rehabilitation passed
in the 2002 session and to establish a program to assist with the rehabilitation of Georgia’s
historic courthouses and city halls during future legislative sessions.

Georgia State Income Tax Credit for Historic Rehabilitation passed as an amendment to
HB 1441. Provides a tax credit for rehabilitating residential properties (10% credit) and
commercial/income-producing properties (20% tax credit) with a $5,000 maximum allowable
credit per project. The law was implemented on January 1, 2004.

Georgia Heritage Grant program funding increased from $341,000 to $500,000.

$50,000 appropriation for a study of the graves of former Governors.

$2 million was included in the supplemental budget for Hardman Farm.

$1.5 million was included in the supplemental budget for the Georgia Cities Foundation.

$5 million was included in the supplemental budget for the Old Governor’s Mansion in

$750,000 was included in the supplemental budget for Resaca Battlefield site development.

$200,000 was included in the supplemental budget for the Civil War Trail Pilot Project.

$100,000 was included in the supplemental budget for the TRR Cobb House.

The Governor’s Commission on Georgia History and Historical Tourism was created by
HB 190 to study a broad range of history, preservation and tourism issues.

The state law for the protection of archeological sites was strengthened by HB 698, by
clarifying law enforcement provisions and confirming private property owner’s rights.

$5 million in bond funding was included for the State Capitol restoration.

Included language in the Governor’s A+ Education Reform Act to level the playing field for
historic schools with regard to state funding and allowing schools to receive renovation
dollars more than one time.

The Governor’s Greenspace Program was established to encourage the protection of open
space, which was defined to include historic and cultural areas, in growing counties.

The Georgia Civil War Commission obtained an additional $112,000 for a heritage trail initiative

The State Capitol Commission received $1.9 million in bonds in the 1999 supplemental budget

Following a second successful Joint Study Committee on Historic Preservation, legislation
was drafted to create a state tax credit for historic rehabilitation of both income producing and
residential historic structures. The legislation was not introduced due to a delay in the State
Auditors Office awaiting a fiscal note on the legislation.

SB446: Senators Johnson, Hill, Hooks and Oliver sponsored legislation following the work of
the Joint Study Committee to: a) improve state agency heritage stewardship by requiring
them to develop a preservation plan to protect historic resources under their control, b)
encourage state agencies and departments to first consider locating state offices in
downtown historic facilities when feasible, c) support the creation of a “Georgia Historical and
Cultural Museum Assistance Program,” and d) provide state authorization for preservation

HR 425 was passed creating a Joint Study Committee on Historic Preservation. This body
will meet to discuss the role of historic preservation in the 21st century and to determine the
needs of the preservation movement in an effort to maximize the positive impact of historic
preservation in Georgia.

SB 21, sponsored by Senator Robert Brown of Macon, passed making the rehabilitation of
historic school buildings on the National Register of Historic Places prior to December 30,
1994, eligible for state funding, up to the cost of new construction.

$4,000,000 included in the FY97 budget for the Georgia State Capitol and another $2,000,000
was included in the FY96 Supplemental Budget.

Governor Zell Miller initiated the Georgia Heritage 2000 grant program in his budget with
$135,000 subsequently approved by General Assembly. The grants are administered through
the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources with the
goals of preserving historic properties and stimulating economic development and
neighborhood revitalization through historic preservation.

$125,000 allocated to re-establish the statewide coordination of the Main Street
Program—allowed for the development and growth of the Main Street Program following its
funding being cut in 1991.

Commission on Preservation of the State Capitol created to ensure the long-term preservation
of the Capitol. The Commission coordinates different agencies involved and oversees
restoration of the capitol.

Civil War Commission created to develop a Civil War Sites Heritage Plan. The Plan is
designed to promote Georgia's heritage tourism while providing incentives to governments and
local landowners to preserve historic Civil War sites.

Uniform Conservation Easements Act passed allowing laws governing conservation
easements and protective covenants to run in perpetuity and protecting easement holders
from liability for environmental hazards. The law also requires that easement holders be
notified of anything planned by a government agency or private property holder that would
affect the property.

S.B. 607: Local option tax incentive program amendment passed extending the state tax
assessment freeze to owners of residential properties that are locally designated as landmark
historic properties. The original law only provided a tax assessment freeze for owners of
income-producing historic properties.

S.B. 97: Georgia Environment Policy Act, passed. The act provides that a state-funded
project determined to have significant environmental effects (including adverse impact on
historic sites or buildings) requires the preparation of an environmental impact report.

H.B. 402: Cemetery and Burial Ground Protection Policy, passed. The policy provides that no
cemetery or burial site, including private property and abandoned sites, may be disturbed
without a permit from the local government.

H.B. 1247: prohibits destruction of any courthouse built before 1905 without public referendum.

Statewide property tax incentive program established by legislature.

Georgia Register of Historic Places established.

Growth Strategies Bill included historic preservation in planning at all levels of government.

Georgia voters passed constitutional amendment by 57-43% margin to provide for property
tax incentives for rehabilitation.

Georgians for Preservation Action established as statewide lobbying network to address
statewide and national issues.

Appropriated $350,000 for preservation planner program

Joint Legislative Study Committee on Economic Development through Historic Preservation.
Committee recommended full funding of $675,000 for the Area Planning and Development.
Commission’s Historic Preservation Planner Program and $50,000 for administration of the
SHPO program.

Developed H.B. 839 to improve application of fire and building codes to rehabilitation of
existing buildings and provided guidelines and liability protection for code officials.

Conceived and supported technical corrections to Georgia Facade and Conservation
Easements Act.

Lobbied for National Heritage Policy Act of 1980, which established uniform guidelines for
enacting local preservation ordinances.

H.B. 457: Georgia Historic Preservation Act, establishing guidelines for implementing historic
districts and making tax benefits available through these districts.

H.B. 237: Georgia Historic Preservation Enabling Act, allowing localities to enact ordinances
to protect historic sites.

First major organization to support restoration of the Fox Theater in Atlanta.



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