Concerns for how U.S. tax reform could slow York City development

YORK, Pa. -- A concern that a surge in York City's redevelopment efforts could hit the brakes, is on the minds of some local officials worried the effects of certain tax cuts proposed by Congress.

The Yorktowne Hotel is one of several redevelopment projects currently under construction in the city, but the Historic Tax Credit that helps make projects like it possible could be at risk.

Renovation of the Yorktowne Hotel is already underway, but if the benefit of federal tax dollars were to go away with tax reform, completing it could become more challenging.

Downtown Inc. CEO Silas Chamberlin said "currently, they've been approved for $4 million, in Historic Tax Credits. There's a lot of debate right now about if the legislation goes through, whether that commitment could be pulled, or whether there will be an opportunity to get it back, in the future, so that's a big concern for us right now."

Chamberlin believes construction will continue at the Yorktowne Hotel one way or another, but he doesn't want the city's renaissance to lose momentum.

"We've seen more than $150 million of new investment in the downtown. We're seeing more people come downtown. Every single year our numbers just go up and up. So, we're definitely in the middle of a renaissance, but it's also not a moment to take our feet off the gas pedal," Chamberlin said.

"As the Senate and the House work to reconcile their two bills, we really need to get them back in. So right now, it's now about getting them to put it in legislation. It's about working behind the scenes to get these tax credits back in, before we don't have a chance anymore," Chamberlin added.

FOX 43 News reached out to Congressman Scott Perry to see if that's possible.

"Many constituents have expressed concern to me about the elimination of the New Market Tax credits and the Historic Tax Credits, which have incentivized economic activity and job creation in the 4th district. Early drafts of the Senate tax reform bill restores these credits with some revisions. I`m actively engaged with my colleagues on finding a final agreement that promotes job creation, bigger paychecks, and a more fair and simple tax code," Perry said.

Chamberlin says every dollar invested in a York redevelopment project spurs another eight dollars of economic impact. The potential loss of millions of dollars of tax credits could have the opposite effect on future development.

"That means eight times that coming off of the benefit you see to construction firms, architects, and the city tax rolls, for a city that obviously has financial issues, we have leadership that's trying to reduce the tax burden, and get new businesses to come downtown, this would work against that effort," Chamberlin said.

The full U.S. Senate has yet to vote on tax reform, but if it gets passed, the differences between the House and Senate versions will have to be settled before the bill gets sent to the president to sign.