Wicker, Moran propose bipartisan Rural Jobs Act

U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) recently proposed a bipartisan bill that would provide for New Market Tax Credit investments in Rural Job Zones, which are low-income, rural communities with a population of less than 50,000. 

Sen. Wicker on May 4 sponsored the Rural Jobs Act, S. 1455, with three original cosponsors, including Sen. Moran and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), to build on the success of the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC), which provides a tax incentive for private investment in America’s most disadvantaged rural communities.

“Rural communities deserve a chance to thrive, but they have been left behind because of a chronic lack of investment,” Sen. Wicker said. “The New Market Tax Credit program has already proven to be a successful way to spur private investment in distressed communities. 

“By expanding the program and ensuring that rural communities receive a proportionate share of the benefits, we can help close the job creation gap and increase economic opportunity,” said the senator.

Since 2000, the NMTC has spurred more than $42 billion in private investment and generated over one million jobs, though less than one in four NMTC jobs have been created in rural communities, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

“New Market Tax Credits have proven to be an economic engine for local communities, but too often rural areas are left out of these initiatives,” Sen. Warner said. “I’m glad to introduce this legislation to bridge that gap and ensure that rural areas receive the same opportunities that have created good-paying jobs in cities across the country.”

If enacted, S. 1455 would designate $500 million in NMTC investments for Rural Job Zones, which would be established in 342 out of the 435 congressional districts across the country, the summary says, and the bill would require that at least 25 percent of the new investment activity be devoted to counties with persistently high rates of poverty and migration.

“The New Market Tax Credit has produced meaningful results for underserved areas, resulting in thousands of jobs created and generating new investments,” Sen. Moran said. “It’s time the credit is put to work for rural Americans. Rural Job Zones will cover the vast majority of rural states like Kansas, giving thousands of small towns the same opportunities as larger cities.”