Ernst, Gardner tax reform provisions pass Senate Finance Committee

Bipartisan legislation cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) to support economically distressed communities passed out of the Senate Finance Committee on Nov. 16 as part of the Senate tax reform bill currently under consideration.

The Investing in Opportunity Act (IIOA), S. 293, would encourage investment in economically troubled towns and cities by incentivizing private capital investments in small businesses, entrepreneurial support and dilapidated property rehabilitation in ZIP codes most in need of economic revitalization, including in Ernst’s home state.

“This provision compliments much-needed tax relief for low and middle-income earners,” Ernst said. “By incentivizing private investment in struggling communities, it would spur economic growth in poverty-stricken areas, bringing hope and opportunity back to many distressed rural communities in Iowa.”

Currently, some 52 million Americans live in distressed communities across the country while trillions of dollars in unrealized capital gains sit unused, according to Ernst’s office.

The IIOA would allow investors to use a temporary capital-gains referral in exchange for investing the capital in these communities. Such public-private partnerships would create new investment streams promoting job growth and entrepreneurship, and improve local economies for future generations, according to the Senator’s office.

Sen. Gardner joined Ernst in supporting the IIOA, which was introduced by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).
“As a fifth generation Coloradan who grew up on the Eastern Plains, I know how important it is to attract growth to local communities and particularly rural communities in Colorado,” Gardner said.

Gardner added that the bill is “common sense legislation” that will restore faith in the American Dream for those who feel they’ve been left behind.

U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Todd Young (R-IN) joined their colleagues as original cosponsors of IIOA.

“It’s time to give our middle class the boost they need following several years of job loss and economic distress,” said Capito, adding that S. 293 would level the playing field and create new opportunities in West Virginia and other regions.

Those opportunities, Young added, are “exactly the kind of behavior we should strive to promote and incentivize.”

The House of Representatives earlier in the day on Nov. 16 approved its tax reform bill. The Senate Finance Committee has sent its version of the national tax package to the full Senate for consideration. The Senate is expected to take up the proposal following Thanksgiving break.