Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama

Reps. Sewell, Smith Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Rural Jobs Act

Jun 27, 2019
Press Release
Legislation provides $500 million to boost investment in rural and distressed communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Terri Sewell (AL-07) and Jason Smith (MO-08) and Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) today introduced the Rural Jobs Act, legislation that would increase New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocations to spur economic revitalization in rural economies, creating jobs and opportunities, and improving services and facilities.

Specifically, the legislation would authorize an additional $500 million in NMTC allocation per year for 2019 and 2020 for certain rural areas. The new allocation would target Rural Jobs Zones, which are NMTC-eligible census tracts in rural communities that are eligible for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Business & Industry program. At least 25 percent of the new allocation would be prioritized for persistent poverty counties and high-migration rural counties.

“Alabama’s 7th District knows from experience that the New Market Tax Credit is a proven, cost-effective incentive that spurs investment in areas like Aliceville, where the credit helped transform the Huyck Felt brick plant into a new wood pellet manufacturing facility, creating 275 jobs, and Selma, where the program helped create 55 jobs at a biomass processing facility,” Rep. Sewell said. “Too many small towns are struggling to survive, which is why it is critically important that we expand the NMTC to incentivize investment in rural areas and, especially, persistent-poverty rural areas like many of those in the Black Belt to help ensure these communities are not left behind.”

“The Rural Jobs Act will allow for new economic opportunities in the areas of our country that need it the most,” Rep. Smith said. “By building on the success of the New Markets program, the Rural Jobs Act will bring investment to rural communities with persistent poverty and high migration. It is too often that rural communities are overlooked by Washington. This legislation is a targeted approach that will encourage investment in rural America.”

“During my time as Governor and in the Senate, I’ve supported initiatives to help create jobs and boost economic opportunity for all Virginians,” Sen. Warner said. “There’s a lot happening in parts of Southwest and Southside Virginia, but we still have more work to do to ensure that no part of Virginia is left behind. That’s why I’m proud to introduce this legislation to set aside additional tax credits for rural and underserved regions.”

“In Maryland, the New Markets Tax Credit has been deployed throughout our state on a diverse range of infrastructure and community development efforts. I am pleased to support this bipartisan legislation, which will further the reach of the program to low-income rural communities, creating jobs and stimulating our economy across Maryland and across America,” said Sen. Cardin.

“The Rural Jobs Act would be an important addition to the successful New Market Tax Credit program, which has spurred tens of billions in private investment in many distressed communities across America,” Sen. Wicker said. “The legislation we have introduced today would help boost these investments in rural areas and ensure that every community is receiving a proportionate share of the benefits of the NMTC.”

“The New Markets Tax Credits program has played a vital role in helping economically distressed communities in West Virginia attract the private capital needed for economic development investments,” Sen. Capito said. “The Rural Jobs Act expands upon this already powerful tool by ensuring these investments occur in the communities that need them the most. I’m proud to support this legislation that I know will go a long way in providing the boost these areas of West Virginia need.” 

NMTCs provide private investors with a 39 percent credit against federal income taxes for investments made in some of the most distressed communities in the nation. To be eligible for NMTC financing, businesses being financed must, at a minimum, be located in designated low-income communities, defined by U.S. Census data as census tracts with a poverty rate of at least 20 percent, or with median family incomes that do not exceed 80 percent of area median income.

The Rural Jobs Act is available here.