Raptakis and Denice Call for Re-Authorization Tax Credit Program
Candidates for local General Assembly seats say reinstituting program would help restore Harris Mill area.
State Senate candidate Lou Raptakis and State Representative candidate Nicholas Denice are calling for the re-authorization of a historic tax credit program which could be used to revitalize the Harris Mill in Coventry. The mill is currently abandoned, overgrown, and covered with graffiti. A crime wave has broken out in the area, with Denice noting that homes and cars have been broken into and people have been physically assaulted outside of their homes.
“It is about time our public officials did something to revitalize the Harris Mill,” said Denice. “We have a chance to put the building back on the tax rolls, increase revenue, bring jobs and businesses into the community, lower the crime rate, turn an eyesore into a local landmark, and increase surrounding property values. This building is the magnet for this crime in the Phenix/Harris area.”
Raptakis added, “All you have to do is look at what they were able to do with the Royal Mills project near Riverpoint Park in West Warwick. There they had a building that had fallen apart, was infested with rats, covered with spider webs, and had become the symbol of a town in decline. Now it is a source of pride in the West Warwick, where the history of the town is on display and bringing a new demographic of people into the community.”
Rhode Island first instituted an historic tax credit program in 2001. It allowed developers to receive tax credits up to 22% of the cost of a project. In other words, for every $1,000 invested into a project, a developer could receive a $220 credit. Ted Sanderson, director of the RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission which administered the program, has previously stated that the program contributed to the restoration of 200 historic buildings across Rhode Island.
The program generated $1.3 billion in new private investment in Rhode Island’s real estate economy and helped generate an estimated 22,000 construction jobs and 6,000 permanent jobs, paying total wages of over $800 million, exactly the kind of job creation the state needs.
The program was suspended in 2008 and Raptakis and Denice said they will make restoring the program a top priority if elected. They said the Historic Tax Credit program would provide the economic incentives needed to renovate the Pawtuxet Valley and bring much-needed business and job growth to the area. It is part of their Economic Revitalization Plan which also includes lowering business taxes, abolishing the minimum corporate tax, streamlining regulations, and eliminating unfunded state mandates.
“Rhode Island needs a shot in the arm to get our economy up and running again and as a State Senator, I will fight to make this happen,” said Raptakis. Denice added, “This is an example of the kind of solution I will push for as a State Representative, someone who will work constantly to create jobs and improve the quality of life in our community.”