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Rogers, Larson, Cohen and Wilson Introduce PZ Tax Credits Bill

Rogers, Larson, Cohen, and Wilson Introduce Bi-Partisan Legislation to Spur Job Creation and Investment in Promise Zones

Washington, DC, Mar 23 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (606-679-8346) | 0 comments

Amanda Schoen (Larson) 860-539-4924
Danielle Smoot (Rogers) 606-679-8346
Michael Eisenstatt (Cohen) 202-225-3265

Leacy Burke (Wilson) 202-225-2452 Today, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), U.S. Rep. John B. Larson (D-CT) Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) introduced The Promise Zone Job Creation Act to create new tax credits to incentivize the hiring of residents of federally-designated Promise Zones. It would also encourage new investments to bring property, equipment, or software to these hard-hit communities.

“Coal country has suffered devastating and economically debilitating impacts from this Administration's war on coal. In Kentucky’s coalfields, we’ve lost nearly 11,000 coal mining jobs since 2009, making the effort to revitalize and rebuild a difficult, uphill battle,” said Rogers. “I am proud of the efforts that local leaders have already undertaken to leverage the Promise Zone designation in Eastern Kentucky, and with this legislation, we can take those efforts to the next level. I am proud to partner with this bipartisan group of members in introducing this bill, which will encourage new businesses to establish roots in the coalfields where they will find some of hardest working, dedicated workforces in the country.”

“Many Promise Zone’s—like Hartford’s North End—face tremendous challenges battling poverty, homelessness, unemployment, and even violence,” said Larson. “The Promise Zone designation assures priority consideration for federal funding and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers, but I firmly believe we can do more. This bill will encourage businesses to locate within and hire residents from the Zone. I commend Chairman Rogers for his partnership as well as Mayor Luke Bronin, Thea Montanez, and local leaders like our ‘06120 Delegation’ for their dedication to improving the lives of North End residents. Every American deserves the dignity that comes from having a job, and this bill will help make that a reality for men and women who are most in need. “

“I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this bipartisan bill that will bring more jobs and economic investment to designated Promise Zones,” said Cohen. “Memphis is unfortunately ranked in the top ten of the most economically distressed cities in the United States and has the second highest unemployment rate of metropolitan areas with more than a million people. So being from Memphis, I realize the importance of the Promise Zone program to reduce concentrated poverty and increase the economic vitality of Memphis and similar cities that could be designated Promise Zone areas.”

“I am grateful to be an original co-sponsor of the Promise Zone Job Creation Act of 2016 to incentivize businesses that create jobs in designated Promise Zones,” Wilson said. “I’ve seen first-hand the benefits the Promise Zone designation has had on South Carolina’s Second Congressional District. The Lowcountry SC Promise Zone, which includes Barnwell County, has created over 250 quality jobs since being designated a Promise Zone in 2015. The investment and resources have provided opportunities for the community to grow over the last year, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact of the Promise Zone in the future.”The Promise Zone Job Creation Act was originally introduced by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) in the 113th Congress. This bipartisan, bicameral effort will establish employment tax credits and bonus depreciation to enable businesses and residents to realize more immediate economic benefits.

The Promise Zone Job Creation Act will: · 

Create employment tax credits: This legislation would create an employment credit to be provided to businesses that employ Promise Zone residents. Credit would apply to the first $15,000 of qualifying zone employee wages. The credit rate would be 20% for zone residents who are employed within the zone and 10% for zone residents employed outside of the zone. · 

Establish Bonus depreciation: Qualified property placed in service within the zone would be eligible for additional first-year depreciation of 100% of the adjusted basis of the property. This includes tangible property with a recovery period of 20 years or less, water utility property, certain computer software, and qualified leasehold improvement property. The property must be placed in service within the zone while the zone designation is in effect.

More information on Promise Zones can be found at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or by visiting https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/promise-zones/promise-zones-overview/.

The challenges Kentuckians face to improve their health

LOUISVILLE,   Ky.- In Kentucky 4 in 10 adults report excellent or very good health (43%)   and about 3 in 10 (26%) report good health. Those are among the findings in   the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) released by the Foundation for   a Healthy Kentucky and Cincinnati-based Interact for Health.

Research   has found a powerful link between people's self-report of their personal   health status and the predicted length and quality of their lives.

KHIP   highlights include:

  • Three in 10 Kentucky adults        report fair or poor health (31%). These Kentuckians frequently cite a        current health problem or access to healthcare as barriers to health        improvement.
  • Two thirds of Kentucky adults        (65%) report it would be difficult or very difficult to make a positive        health change.
  • Kentuckians report time, money        and motivation as barriers to health change.

"Kentucky   adults understand that more exercise and a healthier diet can help them get   healthier," stated Susan Zepeda, President/CEO of the Foundation for a   Healthy Kentucky. "A majority say making a change to improve their   health would be difficult or very difficult. While time, money and motivation   were frequently named as barriers to making positive health changes, a few   also acknowledged the role that the physical and policy environment can play   in supporting healthier living. We can support better health for all   Kentuckians by making changes in our built environment to make exercise   easier, supporting access to fruits and vegetables, and continuing to offer   all Kentuckians health insurance."

Sponsored   annually by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky,   the Kentucky Health Issues Poll is a 1,600-household phone survey, polling   Kentuckians for their views on key health policy issues likely to come before   the legislature or local policymaking bodies. Foundation for a Healthy   Kentucky is a non-profit philanthropic organization whose mission is to   address the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians by developing and   influencing health policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks   and disparities, and promoting health equity. 

The   complete report is here.

Corbin's Local Food, Local Places featured in White House Release

Local Foods, Local Places Empowers Creative Economic Development in Rural and Urban Communities

Local Foods, Local Places, an effort to support communities that are building local food systems, is empowering local leaders and citizens to strengthen their communities

Local Foods, Local Places(LFLP), an effort supporting communities that are building local food systems, was launched in 2014.  We see an amazing range of innovative thinking generated when local leaders and citizens are supported in their work to strengthen communities. Top-down solutions do not always fit the realities in neighborhoods and on main streets. This Administration has embarked on a different, locally-driven approach to empower homegrown solutions.

Unfortunately, the neighborhood where a child grows up impacts her odds of graduating high school, her health and her lifetime economic opportunities.

The Administration has been steadily embarking on a different approach to working with communities to ensure a child’s zip code never determines her destiny. Over the past seven years, the Administration has worked to disrupt the outdated top-down approach and transform the federal government into a more effective partner for local government, non-profits, businesses and other stakeholders. How is this happening? First, federal experts are working hand in hand with residents and local leaders to create customized solutions. Second, federal agencies are better coordinated and improving the ways they interact with communities. Finally, people at all levels are using data more effectively to help inform solutions and evaluate what works and what doesn’t.

Recognizing that different regions have unique challenges and resources, the President has called upon the federal government to act creatively in order to become more responsive to the ideas and concerns of local leaders and citizens. Several agencies including the Department of Agriculture,Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Delta Regional Authority, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, came together to launch LFLP and help communities increase economic opportunities for local farmers and related businesses, creating vibrant places and promoting childhood wellness by improving access to healthy local food.

Projects like those supported by LFLP collaborations help us learn how to better coordinate and target federal assistance as we work with communities. Put simply: People striving to make their neighborhood a great place to live, work and raise a family know their community's strengths and needs, and our job is to help advance their vision. Like the support for local entrepreneurs that is helping revitalizeMain Street in Corbin, Kentucky, cities are finding that connecting producers and other small businesses with local buyers does much more than complete a commercial transaction; it creates relationships that expand potential. It creates communities where people know and support each other. It lowers barriers and encourages, often unexpected, partnerships.

Corbin, KY
In Corbin, KY, neighbors used Local Foods, Local Places as a catalyst, using the small downtown Farmers Market like a mini business incubator. Together with their buy-local campaign they have seen new relationships flourish and the vacancy rate of 40 percent on Main Street drop dramatically to less than five percent. 

Healthy food and regular physical activity are also key to a long, productive life—but for some, access to vegetables, fruits and walkable areas is limited. For example, Delta communities have some of the richest farmland and most experienced farmers in the world, a real competitive advantage if communities can nurture business skills and innovative thinking in the agriculture sector. Building on the strengths of the community is the best way to help people develop sustainable strategies that feed their neighbors, create local jobs and cultivate a quality of life their children want to come home to after college. For example, a LFLP partner Clarksdale, Mississippi has established a vegetable farming-based job training program and a series of community gardens that will help supply food for a new farmers market and café.

Clarksdale, MS
Through Local Foods, Local Places, community leaders in Clarksdale, MS planned job training services for farmers and other food entrepreneurs. Federal experts also worked with community leaders to establish community gardens to provide fresh produce for local retail.

Our LFLP partner Williamson, W.V. is buildingWilliamson Health Innovation Hub to capitalize on their own unique strengths: focusing on ways to leverage the local food system and a federally qualified health center to establish a culture of health by improving access to fresh, healthy foods, promoting an active lifestyle and providing greater access to health care services. Farmers in the area are exploring creating demonstration sites to test and share ideas on how to recycle former coal mines into viable farmland.

Williamson, WV
In Williamson, WV, the Local Foods, Local Places project includes outreach to many parts of the community including Veterans through the Growing Warriors – using local farming to create opportunity and ease symptoms of PTSD.

All of the26 round one LFLP communitiesare already making a difference in people’s lives in their own unique ways. Some are building support for small business development, aggregating demand or helping farmers to market local foods and products. Others are working to better integrate transportation infrastructure and walkability planning to connect people to markets and local restaurants. Health outcomes are also being targeted through school and community programs that teach children about nutrition, provide hands-on experience growing food, increase access through expanded use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

We are looking forward to supporting the work of the27 LFLP community partners for 2016as they work to make a difference in their communities. The Administration’s focus on prioritizing locally-driven solutions has created a road map of tested program innovations and interventions that can continue to support every community working to improve the quality of life and provide opportunities to families in rural and tribal communities across the nation.

Doug O’Brien is the Senior Advisor for the White House Rural Council.



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