WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Mark Warner, D-Va., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Mike Braun, R-Ind., reintroduced the “Rural Jobs Act.” This legislation would build on the success of the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) by bringing hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment to some of the most disadvantaged rural communities in America.
“Rural communities deserve a chance to thrive, but they have been left behind because of a chronic lack of investment,” Wicker said. “The New Market Tax Credit program has already proven to be a successful way to spur private investment in distressed communities. By expanding the program and ensuring that rural communities receive a proportionate share of the benefits, we can help close the job creation gap and increase economic opportunity.”
“New Market Tax Credits have proven to be an economic engine for local communities, but too often rural areas are left out of these initiatives,” Warner said. “I’m glad to introduce this legislation to bridge that gap and ensure that rural areas receive the same opportunities that have created good-paying jobs in cities across the country.”
“The New Market Tax Credit has produced meaningful results for underserved areas, resulting in thousands of jobs created and generating new investments,” Moran said. “It’s time the credit is put to work for rural Americans. Rural Job Zones will cover the vast majority of rural states like Kansas, giving thousands of small towns the same opportunities as larger cities.”
“Investment in our rural communities helps create jobs and promote economic opportunity for those in states like Indiana. I am committed to fighting for our rural communities and the Rural Jobs Act would ensure that the NMTC investments will be devoted to places that need it most,” Braun said.
The NMTC provides a modest tax incentive to private investors to invest in low-income communities. The programs’ projects have spurred over $42 billion in private investment and generated over one million jobs since 2000, but less than one in four NMTC jobs have been created in rural communities.
The Rural Jobs Act would designate $500 million in NMTC investments for “Rural Job Zones.” These zones are low-income communities that have a population smaller than 50,000 inhabitants and are not adjacent to an urban area. Under the new definition, Rural Job Zones would be established in 342 out of the 435 congressional districts across the country.
The bill would also require that at least 25 percent of this new investment activity be devoted to counties with persistently-high rates of poverty and migration. There are approximately 400 counties in the United States facing persistent poverty.
The full text of the bill can be found here.