Lawmakers propose permanent tax credit to stimulate development in nation’s underserved areas

Tax Credit

U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Ben Cardin (Md.) have introduced a measure to permanently extend the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), which has created jobs and driven investment in neighborhoods with high poverty and unemployment rates. The New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act (S.456) will permanently authorize a 39 percent federal tax credit for businesses or economic development projects in areas with poverty rates of at least 20 percent, or median incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median.

“The New Markets Tax Credit program has a proven record of creating jobs, boosting economic growth, and enhancing the quality of life in underserved areas,” said Blunt. “From grocery stores and manufacturing facilities to affordable housing and social services, the NMTC program has supported more than 400 Missouri businesses and economic revitalization projects. Together, these projects have improved communities and expanded opportunities in areas where they’re needed most. This is a program that we know works and should be made permanent. I urge all of our colleagues to join us in this effort.”

“In Maryland and across the country, the New Markets Tax Credit has demonstrated its strength in encouraging a diverse range of infrastructure and community development efforts in low-income and minority neighborhoods,” said Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. “I thank Senator Blunt and our cosponsors for ongoing support for this tax credit that will continue to create jobs and stimulate our economy in communities nationwide.”

In addition to making the NMTC program permanent at a $5 billion annual allocation level, the legislation indexes future allocations to inflation and exempts NMTC investments from the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Blunt and Cardin introduced similar legislation in the previous Congress. The NMTC was originally authorized in 2000 as part of the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act. In 2020, under the leadership of Blunt and Cardin, the program was extended for five years at a $5 billion annual allocation level.

The New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), and Tim Scott (S.C.).

Following are a few examples of Missouri projects that have benefited from the NMTC:

  • Ferguson Empowerment Center – A multi-nonprofit community empowerment center was built on the site of the QuikTrip that was vandalized during the Ferguson unrest. The center provides job training and placement, financial literacy, and other empowerment programs for residents.
  • Marquette Tower – The newly restored Marquette Tower in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is the epicenter of the Marquette Tech District, bringing jobs and tech industry growth to Cape Girardeau. Anchored by an expansion of Codefi, the historic building offers offices, suites, and coworking spaces to technology-based and innovative companies, and organizations that support them.
  • Guardian Angel Settlement Association – NMTC financing supported the development of a new social services center in St. Louis. The 18,000 square foot facility serves thousands of individuals each year.

Following are a few examples of Maryland projects that have benefited from the NMTC:

  • Helping Up Mission’s House of Freedom – This new 131,000 square foot, 7-story facility in Baltimore supports women and their children who are experiencing poverty, homelessness. It also includes a residential substance abuse program, emergency shelter, mental health services, counseling, and a workforce development and education center. The project is estimated to create 150 construction jobs, 42 permanent jobs and will include 260 beds.
  • Remington Row – In the neighborhood of Remington, the Remington Row project includes a new health clinic, retail, 108 apartments priced at below-market rates, an open market and will include ten small kitchens for Baltimore chefs and entrepreneurial food vendors, the redevelopment of 30 abandoned row homes for sale to teachers, police officers and first responders; and the redevelopment of an old tire shop into a restaurant, theater and office space – all made possible by the New Markets Tax Credit. The project created 200 construction and 265 permanent jobs in a severely distressed neighborhood.
  • East Baltimore Revitalization – In East Baltimore, the NMTC program helped attract nearly $2 billion dollars of private sector financing toward the redevelopment of 88 acres of former industrial land into new and rehabilitated affordable and mixed-income housing, the first new school built in Baltimore in 30 years, a life sciences and technology park, modern manufacturing space, retail space, and more than 8,000 new jobs.