GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — Demand for a Nebraska tax credit program has dwindled since the initiative was implemented three years ago.

The Legislature allocates $15 million for the Nebraska Historic Tax Credits program, but only $9 million was used last year.

State officials are hoping to pique interest by holding promotional tours to showcase restoration projects that have been funded with the program, the Grand Island Independent reported .

The Nebraska State Historical Society and the State Historic Preservation Office took a tour Thursday of a Grand Island courtroom, where the ornate ceiling was restored through the program.

The program provides a 20 percent state tax credit for eligible projects, which municipalities can sell to receive cash. A building has to be on a national or local historic registry to qualify. It's an attempt to encourage redevelopment and preservation of historic buildings.

"The credits are used to offset the tax liability of the applicant or owner of the building," said Ryan Reed, a tax credit coordinator with the State Historic Preservation Office.

Jill Dolberg, the historical society's deputy state historic preservation officer, said some of the most common projects are restoring courthouses.

"We are having a lot of counties do work on their county courthouses so they can sell the credit and then use the cash that they get up front to leverage the whole project," she said.

Dolberg believes the declining demand for the tax credits is a result of either residents not knowing about the program or "paperwork fatigue" with the three-part application process.


Information from: The Grand Island Independent,