SB 174, Indiana historic tax credits, authored by Sen. Dan Dernulc (R - Highland) and co-authored by Sen. Justin Busch (R - Fort Wayne), Sen. Travis Holdman (R - Markle), and Sen. David Niezgodski (D - South Bend), was heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on January 26 but no vote was taken. The bill calls for reinstating the state’s historic preservation tax credit. The bill would allow a credit against a qualified taxpayer's state tax liability in an amount equal of 25 percent or 30 percent for a 501(c)(3) of the qualified taxpayer's qualified expenses related to the rehabilitation of a qualified historic structure. Also, the bill as drafted provides that the credit is transferrable and may be carried forward for 10 years, but may not be carried back. AIA Indiana strongly supports SB 174.
AIA Indiana thanks Ron Ross, II, AIA and Britt Brewer, Assoc. AIA for testifying in favor of SB 174 and Jessica Franke, AIA for attending the hearing.
AIA Indiana believes these tax credits provide a powerful economic incentive to preserve and redevelop the inventory of historic architecture throughout the state. Historic preservation tax credits reinvigorate blighted areas, create jobs, increase state tax rolls, provide affordable housing, and preserve our state’s architectural treasures. Indiana is one of just 13 states without a historic tax credit program for commercial buildings.
The chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Ryan Mishler (R - Mishawaka), allowed a hearing on the bill but did not commit to taking a vote. AIA Indiana will continue to lobby in favor of SB 174 and asks that you please contact your state senator and ask them to support SB 174.
SB 333, rules governing certain construction inspections, authored by Sen. Mark Messmer (R - Jasper), would allow the Indiana Fire Prevention & Building Safety Commission to provide rules for construction inspection. SB 333 was heard in the Senate Homeland Security and Transportation Committee on January 24. AIA Indiana Executive Director Jason Shelley, Hon. AIA testified in favor of the bill. No vote was taken.
The current Indiana Building Code explicitly omits nationally recognized building inspection requirements for “Class 1” structures, creating a great risk to public safety. “Class 1” structures are buildings occupied by the general public and/or three (3) or more tenants. Indiana is one of two states with a statewide building code that currently does not incorporate Chapter 17: Special inspection into its Building Code. The other state is Wisconsin.
The omitted requirements are a critical part of the quality assurance standards of the International Building Code (IBC), the model upon which the Indiana Building Code is based. The purposeful deletion of these inspection requirements has put Indiana out of step with national construction practices and has left Indiana without a defined minimum standard for structural inspection of building construction.
Benefits of incorporating Special Inspections include: establishment and adherence to a minimum standard for structural inspection would send a strong message that Indiana prioritizes public safety; identification of potentially dangerous structural deficiencies that may otherwise go unnoticed and allow contractors to take timely corrective action; and alignment of Indiana's building code with accepted practices throughout the U.S.
AIA Indiana asks that you please contact your state senator and ask them to support SB 333.
HB 1005, housing, authored by Rep. Doug Miller (R - Elkhart), passed out of the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee unanimously on January 24. The bill calls for the creation of a loan fund that local governments could apply to help pay for housing development infrastructure costs. This measure was born out of this past summer’s housing task force. HB 1005 will now be heard before the House Ways & Means Committee.
SB 411, Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, authored by Sen. Greg Walker (R - Columbus), authorizes counties, cities, and towns to adopt a commercial property assessed clean energy program (C-PACE program) as a financing mechanism to allow commercial property owners to obtain financing for energy efficient improvements, with the repayment of the financing obligation for those improvements made from a voluntary tax assessment (special assessment) on the property. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee but has not been schedule for a hearing. AIA Indiana supports SB 411.
The C-PACE model is an innovative mechanism for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on private property. C-PACE programs allow a property owner to finance the upfront cost of energy or other eligible improvements on a property and then pay the costs back over time through a voluntary assessment. The unique characteristic of C-PACE assessments is that the assessment is attached to the property rather than an individual.
The recent extension of this financing model to energy efficiency and renewable energy allows a property owner to implement improvements without a large upfront cash payment. Property owners that voluntarily choose to participate in a C-PACE program repay their improvement costs over a set time period — typically 10 to 20 years — through property assessments, which are secured by the property itself and paid as an addition to the owners' property tax bills. Nonpayment generally results in the same set of repercussions as the failure to pay any other portion of a property tax bill.
A C-PACE assessment is a debt of property, meaning the debt is tied to the property as opposed to the property owner(s). In turn, the repayment obligation may transfer with property ownership if the buyer agrees to assume the C-PACE obligation and the new first mortgage holder allows the C-PACE obligation to remain on the property. This can address a key disincentive to investing in energy improvements because many property owners are hesitant to make property improvements if they think they may not stay in the property long enough for the resulting savings to cover the upfront costs.
AIA Indiana asks that you please contact your state senator and ask them to support SB 411.
HB 1575, residential building commission, authored by Rep. Tim O’Brien (R - Evansville), would create a separate residential building commission within the Department of Homeland Security. The commission would then have the exclusive jurisdiction for the review and adoption of building codes and standards for the construction of dwellings, which would include houses, townhomes and apartments. If this bill were to pass, Indiana would have two different sets of building codes (residential, building, fire, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, energy conservation, swimming pool and elevator codes), one for residential and one for commercial. AIA Indiana is opposed to this bill.
AIA Indiana is very supportive of updated building codes for all types of construction. However, the bill is proposing that this residential building commission have a majority of its members consist of representatives from the home builders and apartment association. This would equate to the fox guarding the hen house, which was built by the fox.
AIA Indiana is also concerned that codes will be written based on construction costs, leading to efficiency, safety, and sustainability taking a backseat. Weak building codes result in homes and apartments that cost more to maintain. AIA supports common sense building codes that balance the cost of construction with the cost of maintaining a home.
HB 1575 has been assigned to the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee, which is chaired by a member of the Indiana Builders Association, but has not been scheduled for a hearing as of this time. The bill is being pushed by the Indiana Apartment Association and the Indiana Builders Association in reaction to the proposed updated electrical code.
AIA Indiana asks that you please contact your state representative and ask them to oppose HB 1575.