Community development impact remains clear with NMTC post-tax reform
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For effective, bipartisan programs like the New Markets Tax Credit, last year’s tax reform debate created a great deal of uncertainty. The credit’s existence hung in the balance as the House and Senate each championed their own versions of the tax bill. In the end, congressional leaders recognized the need for the NMTC.

Despite the uncertainty, there remains record demand for the credits over the course of 2017, according to the 2018 NMTC Progress Report released on June 6, 2018. The report found that program participants have met or exceeded prior year’s efforts for poverty targeting, rural investment and job creation, deploying about $4.8 billion in NMTC allocation and creating more than 60,000 jobs in 271 urban and rural communities. All told, the report analyzed 81 percent of the NMTC activity in 2017, or about $3.9 billion out of $4.8 billion. Respondents reported projects in 45 states plus the District of Columbia, ranging from a public library to a sprawling, $200 million multi-use campus for entrepreneurship.

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Eighty-one percent of projects were located in census tracts that experienced significant declines between 2010 and 2015 despite the overall improvement of the economy. Eighty-three percent of projects were located in severely distressed communities. Furthermore, 48.6 percent of the projects financed were in zip codes that had not previously received NMTC investments.

The report highlights several projects financed by the NMTC in economically distressed rural and urban communities. From helping Benson Woodworking and Unity Homes expand its manufacturing business in Keene, N.H., to Jobs Café at Findlay Market in Cincinnati, Ohio, which provides retail and pop-up spaces for small entrepreneurs, mixed income housing and job training and placement for low-income individuals. The report also details a wood pellet manufacturer in the Arkansas Delta, and several health care centers, schools and other community facilities filling in gaps in the market and meeting the needs of their communities.

NMTC investments overall have generated an unparalleled $156 billion in economic activity in low-income rural and urban communities from 2003 to 2015. No other federal tax credit can make that claim. Additionally, the NMTC more than covers the cost of the credit to the federal government, and it has contributed substantially to boosting tax revenue for state and local governments. NMTC investments generated $6.7 billion in state and local tax revenue from 2003 to 2015.

It’s no wonder the program has been championed by Sens. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP senator pushes back on Trump’s attacks on Maxine Waters’s intelligence Pair of DC fundraisers aims to boost McCaskill challenger Kansas City mayoral candidate: Trump is trying to define patriotism MORE (R-Mo.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinSenate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up Businesses fear blowback from Russia sanctions bill Dems ask Mnuchin to probe Russian investment in state election tech MORE (D-Md.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate panel spars with Trump administration over treatment of unaccompanied immigrant children Senate study: Trump hasn’t provided adequate support to detained migrant children Senators introduce bill to change process to levy national security tariffs MORE (R-Ohio) and Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoIt’s possible to protect national security without jeopardizing the economy Tougher Russia sanctions face skepticism from Senate Republicans On The Money: Trump floats steeper tariffs on China | Senate GOP battles for leverage with House on spending | Trump asked Treasury to look into capital gains tax cut | Senate clears 4B 'minibus' spending measure MORE (R-Idaho), and Reps. Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedReforms can stop members of Congress from using their public office for private gain Trump ally suspends reelection campaign Congress should prohibit members from serving on company boards MORE (R-N.Y.), Richard NealRichard Edmund NealSenate GOP urges non-legislative fixes for tax law Republicans happy to let Treasury pursue 0 billion tax cut GOP chairman outlines plan for phase two of tax cuts MORE (D-Mass.) and Danny DavisDaniel (Danny) K. DavisCommunity development impact remains clear with NMTC post-tax reform How much collateral damage will there be in the 2018 midterms? Juan Williams: The GOP's tired Farrakhan smear MORE (D-Ill.). Despite the NMTC being extended through 2019 in the tax reform law, our mission hasn’t changed.

Together, our goal is still permanency for the New Markets Tax Credit. Funding for community development, especially in rural and urban distressed communities remains competitive—each year, requests for funding surpass allocations by at least a multiple of ten. Despite the legislative uncertainty in 2017, the community development impact of the NMTC remains clear, year after year.

Kermit Billups is president of the NMTC Coalition and executive vice president and co-founder of Greenline Ventures.