The Promise Zones Job Creation Act Connects Communities to Equitable Employment Opportunities and Advances Economic Success for All

12 Sep 2014 | Lisa Cylar Barrett
 The Promise Zones Job Creation Act Connects Communities to Equitable Employment Opportunities and Advances Economic Success for All
With this week’s return of Congress to Washington, we thought it was a good time to highlight two important companion bills introduced earlier this summer by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Congressman Gary Peters (D-MI).  The Promise Zones Job Creation Act of 2014 (S. 2597; H.R. 4941) builds on the Obama Administration’s Promise Zones Initiative by authorizing a tax deduction for business property located within a community designated as a Promise Zone and providing employment tax credits for businesses who locate within Promise Zones and/or hire residents living in Promise Zones. The Promise Zones Initiative is designed to revitalize high-poverty communities across the country by creating jobs, increasing economic activity, improving educational opportunities, reducing serious and violent crime, leveraging private capital, and assisting local leaders in navigating federal programs and cutting through red tape. 
 
The Promise Zones Job Creation Act of 2014 is a key component of the initiative as it incentivizes private businesses to re/invest in these communities which have been abandoned and/or forgotten by private industry. To incentivize employers, the Act offers a tax deduction for employers who build infrastructure within a Promise Zone and provides an employment tax credit that would apply to the first $15,000 of qualifying wages. 
 
Additionally, the Promise Zones Job Creation Act of 2014 encourages interagency collaboration at the federal level by mandating that the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the Secretary of Agriculture may only designate a community as a Promise Zone after consultation with various other federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Transportation. The Act also recognizes the need for this work in various local contexts and mandates that six of the 20 authorized Promise Zone designations must be rural areas.  The Act specifies that decisions regarding Promise Zone designations be based upon the community’s unemployment rate, poverty rate, household income, home ownership, residents in the labor force, and educational attainment.
 
PolicyLink is honored to assist the Obama Administration with the outreach, development, and advocacy of the Promise Zones initiative, including building support for the Promise Zones Job Creation Act of 2014. We commend Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Congressman Gary Peters (D-MI) for sponsoring the Promise Zones Job Creation Act of 2014.  
 
MORE COMING SOON ON PROMISE ZONES – stay tuned in coming weeks for an interview with several sites who have received the Promise Zones designation.  Learn more about how this important effort is catalyzing work in underserved communities.
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