Because of a dearth of available capital, residents of low-income communities often lack adequate access to state of the art healthcare facilities that more affluent communities take for granted. Income is strongly linked to health outcomes, so the need is greater in high-poverty neighborhoods. In high poverty urban areas, safety-net hospitals, which a significant level of care to low-income, uninsured, and vulnerable populations are stretched thin. And in small towns and rural farming communities, since 2010, 71 rural hospitals have closed and another 683 are at risk of closing — limiting access to care and further depressing local economies, according to the National Rural Health Association. One recent analysis showed that nearly two-thirds of the roughly 230 hospitals opened since 2000 are in wealthier, mostly suburban areas.
Recent funding for federally qualified health centers has made a difference, but one of the most important vehicles for financing healthcare facilities in high distress is the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC). The program financed 432 projects supporting healthcare access between 2003 and 2013, delivering nearly $7 billion in capital to renovate, expand, or construct new hospitals, health clinics, and treatment clinics. One-hundred of those facilities were in rural areas, and 332 facilities were in high-need urban areas. One such project – the Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia – will celebrate its expansion with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, October 5, 2016. Grady was financed with NMTC allocation from Atlanta Emerging Markets, SunTrust Community Development Corporation, and the Community Hospitality Healthcare Services.
Below is a map of healthcare projects financed by the NMTC through 2013:
More NMTC healthcare stories:
Today, the US Census Bureau released their annual report on poverty and income. Economists predicted an increase of 1 to 2 percent in incomes in 2015, but the report showed a surprising 5.2 percent increase. A closer look at the data reveals a stark contrast between the economy in urban and rural communities.
Urban Areas on the Rise
Inside of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), median incomes grew by 6 percent. Much of that growth was confined to cities dwellers, whose incomes rose by 7.3 percent compared to suburban and exurban residents, whose incomes rose by a more modest 4 percent. This is the largest increase in median income since before the Great Recession.
The poverty rate declined in MSAs, dropping from 14.4 percent in 2014 to 13.0 in 2015. Inside MSA cities, poverty dropped sharply, from 18.9 percent in 2014 to 16.8 percent in 2015, and in the surrounding suburbs, it dropped from 11.8 percent in 2014 to 10.8 percent in 2015.
Rural Communities Continue to Stagnate
In 2015, rural* median incomes declined by 2 percent, which is just inside of the margin of error. Poverty remained stagnant, increasing a statistically insignificant 0.2 percent in 2015 and settling at 16.7 percent.
Regardless of whether the decline in rural economic conditions was statistically significant in 2015, it is clear that rural communities were left behind last year as our economy continued to grow modestly. Rural mortality and out-migration continues to hinder growth in small towns and farming communities. In fact, the number of rural residents living in poverty actually declined by about 10 percent, from 8.2 million in 2014 to 7.4 million in 2015, but because of population loss, this decline was not reflected in an accompanying decline in the overall poverty rate.
*Includes both micropolitan statistical areas and territory outside of metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas
Crossposted at the National Rural Housing Coalition
The project created jobs and expanded access to fresh food in a Minneapolis food desert
U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Jack Lew traveled to Minneapolis on Monday to meet with community and business leaders to highlight initiatives aimed at supporting financial inclusion. On his tour, he visited Seward Community Cooperative Friendship Store, a fresh foods project financed in part by the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) and by a loan from MMCDC with federal Community Economic Development funds, a program that targets job creation for low income individuals. Also in attendance yesterday afternoon was Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), who is a longtime supporter of the credit and a cosponsor of bipartisan legislation to make the NMTC a permanent financial tool for economically distressed rural and urban communities.
“By working collaboratively with private and public workforce development programs, the co-op is creating new living-wage jobs with benefits for residents in the neighborhoods surrounding their locations,” said Kevin Shipley, president of Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation (MMCDC) and a board member of the NMTC Coalition. “However, the project greatly benefited from CED funding for job creation and would not have been possible without the NMTC.”
Faced with capacity crowds at its existing store, Seward turned to its longtime partners, MMCDC, for NMTC financing to expand to two new sites. MMCDC provided $8.48 million in affordable flexible capital. The Seward Co-Op, with a project cost of $15 million, was completed in 2015. The project included the financing of a new food production facility, along with a new grocery store in a Minneapolis neighborhood where fresh food options were scarce. The new store was built using environmentally friendly, sustainable products and services, and a focus on healthy and sustainable products carries through to the food choices on the shelves and at the restaurant. The company employs 350 people in all and the store’s wages start at $13 per hour.
Through 2015, MMCDC has been awarded $544 million in NMTC allocations for use in Minnesota, Wyoming, and the Dakotas. The Detroit Lakes based CDC has financed everything from health clinics to manufacturing facilities, using the NMTC to create thou
sands of jobs in areas underserved by conventional lenders.
“The NMTC nearly faced extinction last year, but thanks to strong support from leaders in both parties, along with Secretary Lew and the Administration, Congress extended the program last December through 2019,” said Bob Rapoza, spokesperson for the NMTC Coalition.
In April, Secretary Lew made the decision to combine the 2015 and 2016 rounds for the NMTC, making more credits available for businesses and communities desperately in need of capital to succeed.
“The Treasury will award a record $7 billion in NMTC allocation. Community development organizations like MMCDC will put that capital to work, creating well over 100,000 jobs in rural and urban communities,” adds Rapoza.
Sen. Roberts visits Children’s Campus of KC to discuss strategies that help close the achievement gap
Local health and education center highlights importance of high-quality facilities to the success of at-risk children
KANSAS CITY, Kan., Aug. 8, 2016 — When Sen. Pat Roberts sat down with preschoolers today at the Children’s Campus of Kansas City (CCKC), he was focused on much more than story time and snacks. The senior senator from Kansas dropped in on the first day of school to learn more about CCKC’s model for closing the achievement gap among low-income kids—starting with a unique community facility designed specifically for young learners.
CCKC is home to three non-profit organizations that provide a continuum of services focused on the health and wellness of children from birth to age five. That includes nearly 150 preschool students participating in CCKC’s Educare program, which lays a strong educational foundation for children who might otherwise be derailed by the deep and lasting implications of poverty.
“I am pleased to visit Children’s Campus to see firsthand a local partnership trying new methods to teach and nurture low-income children in a facility specifically designed for their needs,” Sen. Roberts said. “These children are the most vulnerable in our society, and it is very encouraging to see a community harness the resources it has, like the University of Kansas Medical Center, LISC, Wyandotte County and other organizations by working together to meet the educational and developmental needs of at-risk children. Reading to these kids is a great way to start the day, and I hope they are off to a great start for the year.”
Funding gaps almost derailed CCKC before the first brick was laid—even though expanding access to quality early education programs and services has been a local priority, notes Heather Schrotberger, director of Project Eagle, the University of Kansas Medical Center program that operates Educare Kansas City.
“We know that quality early childhood education can make all the difference in a child’s future,” she said. “It is a powerful anti-poverty strategy. Young children flourish when we create early education settings designed for their needs, with classrooms and teachers that keep them safe and engaged. That’s why CCKC exists.”
In other words, space matters. According to a report published by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), a facility’s layout, size, materials and design features can improve program quality and contribute positively to child development, while a poorly adapted and overcrowded environment undermines it. The physical configuration of early care and education spaces directly affect adult/child interaction and influence how children grow and learn.
But financing high-quality, appropriate space for young learners – much less space that can also accommodate other family services, as is the case with CCKC – is not easy. Early fundraising and philanthropic support enabled the project to secure a conventional bank loan, but CCKC still faced a significant funding gap. The project utilized the federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program, which is designed to encourage private-sector investment in underserved communities, to fill that critical shortfall.
CCKC highlights an important intersection between federal policy and local impact, said Matt Josephs, LISC senior vice president of policy, who joined Sen. Roberts on the CCKC tour. “The corner of 5th St. and Minnesota Ave. might seem like it’s a long way from Washington, but federal programs like the New Markets Tax Credit have a significant local impact,” said Josephs, who also serves on the board of the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition. “CCKC is illustrative of how NMTCs can be used to deliver private sector investments into distressed neighborhoods, helping to not only provide critical services to community residents, but also to revitalize the neighborhoods and fuel further growth.”
Stephen Samuels, executive director with LISC’s Kansas City program office, notes that these kinds of investments also have significant economic benefits for the city at large. LISC helped finance CCKC as part of its comprehensive efforts to revitalize disadvantaged neighborhoods.
“CCKC allows parents to go to work without worrying if their children are in a safe, nurturing place,” he said. “It has created more than 200 jobs in a community with high poverty and unemployment rates. And, it has transformed a vacant commercial corner into an active, vibrant space,” he explained. “By connecting so many critical local partners and institutions, this facility is not only an imperative for our children; it is a significant, lasting asset for our community.”
CCKC is a collaborative partnership aimed at improving outcomes for young children and their families. Three agencies representing the fields of early childhood education, parenting education, family support, health, education and research have co-located on the campus and collectively built a system of services that address the multiple needs of young children and their families, paying special attention to addressing the educational achievement gaps between low-income children and their higher income counterparts. These agencies are:
Juniper Gardens Children’s Project – Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, of the University of Kansas, works to improve children’s developmental experiences and their academic and social achievements through research.
Project Eagle – Project Eagle, of the University of Kansas Medical Center, directs multiple programs on site, including an Early Head Start program (Educare of Kansas City, serving 150 students), a Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, and the Connections centralized screening and referral system for Wyandotte County.
The Family Conservancy – The Family Conservancy provides mental health assessments and services, parenting education, crisis intervention, assistance to overcome poverty, and professional development to enhance the quality of early education across the community.
LISC equips struggling communities with the capital, program strategy and know-how to become places where people can thrive. Since 1980, LISC has invested more than $16 billion to build or rehab 348,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 56 million square feet of retail, community and educational space.
For more on the importance of developing early childhood education facilities, read Building Early Childhood Facilities: What States Can Do to Create Supply and Promote Quality, published by NIEER and authored by LISC, or visit http://www.lisc.org/our-initiatives/education/early-childhood-facilities/.
About New Markets Tax Credits
The New Markets Tax Credit was enacted in 2000 in an effort to stimulate private investment and economic growth in low income urban neighborhoods and rural communities that lack access to the patient capital needed to support and grow businesses, create jobs, and sustain healthy local economies. The NMTC is a 39 percent federal tax credit, taken over seven years, on investments made in economically distressed communities. Today due to NMTC, more than $75 billion is hard at work in underserved communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Since its implementation, Congress has made several last-minute reauthorizations, making it difficult for practitioners and communities to rely on its availability. However, Congress passed a five-year extension of the NMTC in the PATH Act, which was passed in December 2015.
- Kay Hawes, associate director of news and media relations, University of Kansas Medical Center, 913-617-8698 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Democratic Platform Supports the NMTC
On Monday, July 25th, delegates at the Democratic National Convention approved a party platform that included several proposals to protect and expand the New Markets Tax Credit:
- Ending Poverty and Investing in Communities Left Behind: “We will expand and make permanent the New Markets Tax Credit.”
- Building Strong Cities and Metro Areas: “We will support entrepreneurship and small business growth in cities by providing mentoring and training to entrepreneurs and small business owners in underserved communities as well as expanding federal funding for the New Markets Tax Credit, community development financial institutions, and the State Small Business Credit Initiative.”
- Investing in Rural America: “We will expand access to equity capital for businesses and expand the New Markets Tax Credit to better serve rural small businesses.”
Republican Senator Proposes Doubling NMTC Allocation in 2017, 2018, and 2019
Both parties are increasingly looking at the NMTC to help jumpstart business development in rural areas. Earlier this month, Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the Rebuilding and Renewing Rural America Act (S. 3243), a broad legislative package that – among other things – extends tax credits to rural communities and lessens the regulatory burden in rural areas.
The legislation calls for an increase in NMTC allocation in 2017, 2018, and 2019, from $3.6 billion to $7 billion. Earlier this year, CDFI Fund announced that they would combine the 2015 and 2016 rounds and award $7 billion in the fall of 2016, so Gardner’s legislation would provide a stable level of allocation over the next four years.
However, the bill would set-aside the additional $3.5 billion in NMTC allocation to organizations with a significant mission of serving, or providing investment capital for, rural renewal communities. Rural renewal community are defined in the bill as any low income community which has a population of at least 200 people but not more than 25,000 people and is not located in a metropolitan area of 200,000 or more, or which is entirely within an Indian reservation.
The NMTC statute – as amended in 2004 – requires that the CDFI Fund ensure non-metro counties get their fair share of NMTC investment. In 2014, the Coalition produced a report on the impact of the program in rural areas.
More information on rural investments:
On June 29, 2016, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS-02), the fifth-highest-ranking member of House Republican leadership and a member of the U.S. Ways and Means Committee, toured Kansas City startup PayIt. PayIt is a cloud-based mobile solutions platform for government, leveraging its technology and insights to rewrite and automate the citizen engagement experience.
PayIt’s patent-pending mobile platform brings speed and simplicity to the citizen-government payment processing experience for state and local services, such as the DMV, permits and licensing, turnpike passes, income tax, traffic citations and more. Kansas Transportation Authority recently deployed the PayIt Kansas mobile app, providing K-TAG account users the ability to access and manage their K-TAG account anytime, anywhere, directly from their smartphones.
The visit was an opportunity to showcase to Rep. Jenkins how the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program facilitates financing for a variety of businesses and projects, from housing developments to community centers to manufacturing plants, located in states and communities that are underserved by traditional sources of capital.
A member of Kansas City’s thriving technology start-up community, PayIt’s rapid growth also reflects the area’s strong tech talent and entrepreneurial spirit.
NMTC financing for the project was provided by Advantage Capital Partners.
Last month, to mark National Small Business Week, Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, joined Treasury Secretary Jack Lew at the NMTC-financed L.A. Prep in Lincoln Heights.
The L.A. Prep project involved the acquisition and renovation of 56,000 square foot former warehouse into an incubator for small food producers who have outgrown their startup spaces. The project moved forward thanks in part to $16 million in NMTC allocation from Los Angeles Development Fund and UrbanAmerica. Capital Impact Partners provided $11 million in leveraged debt, with $5.1 million in equity provided by U.S. Bancorp CDC. Civic Enterprise, real estate development firm focused on revitalizing emerging urban neighborhoods, developed the project.
“Two-hundred jobs created: 50 tenants and one-third minority-owned businesses at L.A. Prep & L.A. Kitchen,” said Congressman Becerra. “I’m so proud we have places like this in the district, setting small business owners up so that they can get access to capital and help create more jobs for people across our district and beyond – not to mention, nutritious and delicious food!”
All L.A. Prep tenants receive: an exclusive production space; on-site access to everything a growing food-making business needs: flexible cold, dry and frozen storage; a demonstration kitchen; co-working space and more; a staffed warehouse to assist with receiving and logistics. L.A. Prep partner and co-founder Food Centricity, a business accelerator focused on early and growth stage food companies, provides business support and other key services to help the tenants succeed.
Tenant Spotlight: L.A. Kitchen
L.A. Prep’s largest tenant is the social enterprise L.A. Kitchen, which offers culinary training programs for at-risk individuals.
L.A. Kitchen is the vision of Robert Egger, founder of the award-winning D.C. Central Kitchen. The idea is this: L.A. Kitchen collects or purchases surplus fruits and produce from farms and wholesale companies in the region. These products fuel a 15-week, culinary arts job training program, preparing at-risk foster youth and older adults transitioning out of incarceration for jobs in the culinary field, helping reduce systemic patterns and become productive members of the Los Angeles community.
Photos from Secretary Lew and Congressman Becerra’s visit:
— Xavier Becerra (@RepBecerra) May 3, 2016
Community Development Leaders Gather in Washington, DC to Discuss Tax Policy Trends and Plans for 2017
NMTC Coalition brings together over 100 NMTC stakeholders for a policy conference and releases new report on the economic impact of the NMTC in 2015
On Wednesday, June 1st, the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Coalition held its New Markets Tax Credit Annual Policy Conference. The event featured the release of the new 2016 NMTC Progress Report—the twelfth edition of the report—and a luncheon keynote by the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund Director Annie Donovan.
The NMTC Coalition’s Board President Robert Davenport, emceed the event. A longtime NMTC practitioner and president of the National Development Council, he noted recent successes in improving access to credits for communities in need of economic revitalization.
“This year’s policy conference comes at an exciting time for the NMTC community, with December 2015 passage of the PATH Act, which provided a five-year extension of the credit—the largest NMTC extension in the program’s history. And, adding to this accomplishment, the CDFI Fund announced in April that it would combine the Calendar Year 2015 and 2016 rounds, providing $7 billion in awards later this year. This is the largest allocation in the history of the NMTC and will add a much-needed injection of capital for projects in distressed communities.”
Panels included senior Treasury and CDFI Fund staff, experts on NMTC and the law, a panel on engaging community leaders and media in new project announcements, and an investor roundtable. During the session on the new NMTC Progress Report, the attendees learned about emerging trends in the field and the types of projects that are being done.
While there has been a national decline in manufacturing over the past several decades, which has been well documented during this presidential campaign, the survey data featured in the Progress Report shows the NMTC is increasingly being used to bring manufacturing jobs back to America. In fact, the report notes that in 2015, a record 30 percent of NMTC financed projects involved the financing of industrial facilities, waste recycling centers, and cutting-edge green-tech businesses. The report notes that over 80 percent of NMTC projects in 2015 were located in severely distressed communities, and it highlights NMTC investments in manufacturing facilities, health centers, and schools in the two convention cities, Cleveland and Philadelphia.
Department of Treasury data shows the credit has generated over $75 billion in investments to low income communities and led to more than 750,000 jobs since 2003. With a tax overhaul possible in 2017, NMTC supporters are making the case to legislators and the presidential candidates that the credit is an indispensable part of pro-growth tax reform.
“The NMTC meets an important and critical need for private-sector investment in economically distressed urban and rural communities,” said Bob Rapoza, spokesperson for the NMTC Coalition. “This directly correlates with the program’s solid bipartisan support in Congress, including a letter that was signed by 55 Members of the House last week, urging permanency for the NMTC.”
More information on the congressional sign-on letter and hearings being held on tax reform provisions can be found on the Coalition’s blog and photos from this year’s event are posted on the Coalition’s Facebook page.
The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Coalition is a national membership organization founded in 1998 to advocate on behalf of the NMTC program. The Coalition, which now includes more than 150 members, is the principal advocate and lobby for the federal NMTC.
Enactment of NMTC at the federal level spurred a number of states to consider similar state tax incentives. These state credits have similar goals as the federal program. Other states are considering similar legislation. These credits are often called “New Markets Tax Credits” and can enhance revitalization efforts in low income communities. Because these credits are often used in conjunction with the federal NMTC, the NMTC Coalition has prepared a series of recommendations for state credits.
In general the NMTC Coalition believes that state NMTCs should be made available on an open, competitive basis. The state program should be generally available to community development organizations/entities (CDEs) with a track record of providing financial and technical assistance to businesses in low income communities. State tax credits should generally follow the federal New Markets Tax Credit in defining the low income community, the geographies, the businesses, the investors, the CDEs, and the authorized financial products and services. Specific recommendations for the principles are below.
Recognizing that many states have different economic development priorities and tax structures, in general the NMTC Coalition recommends that state legislation establishing a state NMTC program align with the federal program on a number of specific provisions. This will create greater efficiency and clarity and also increase the potential for a successful and effective state tax program.
Principles for state credit programs to align with Federal NMTC (Section 45D of the Internal Revenue Code)
- Eligible geographies: 45D (e);
- Financial products offered: (QILICIs) 45D (d) (1);
- Qualified Equity Investments (including eligibility of all taxpayers and term of qualified equity investment): 45D (b);
- Qualified businesses:45D (d) (2) (3);
- Types of investors: 45D (b));
- Eligibility of CDEs: CDEs that are eligible for federal NMTC are eligible for state program;
- In transactions in which both the federal NMTC and the state NMTC credits are used, state programs should prioritize allocations to CDEs as specified in 45D (f) (2)) and for CDEs proposing particularly efficient uses of the subsidy;
- When a state NMTC is used with the federal credit, recapture of state credits is typically tied to the recapture of federal NMTCs. In cases in which a state credit is used without the federal NMTC, states should ensure compliance by establishing a mechanism; and
- States should at a minimum establish reporting requirements for state tax credit investments that tracks reporting requirements like those of the CDFI Fund and its Awards Management Information System (AMIS).
Coalition submits testimony to Tax Policy Subcommittee, following a bipartisan letter signed by 55 Members of Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today (May 23, 2016), the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Coalition submitted testimony to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tax Policy urging permanence for the credit. The subcommittee held a hearing last week, allowing Members of Congress to submit their proposals for tax legislation. Congressman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), Ranking Member on the subcommittee, as well as Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) expressed support for the NMTC during the hearing. The subcommittee is allowing testimony to be submitted for the record until Thursday, May 26th.
Earlier this year, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) created six committee-led task forces, which are charged with “developing a bold, pro-growth agenda that will be presented to the country in the months ahead.” House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) leads the Tax Reform Task Force and is expected to release a report on his tax reform proposal in June. The Subcommittee hearing was a part of the effort to craft this plan.
The testimony, which was authored by the NMTC Coalition’s Board President Robert Davenport, calls for the NMTC to be made permanent. Davenport is a longtime NMTC practitioner and is the President of the National Development Council, which was founded in 1969 to create economic opportunity in low income communities.
“The NMTC meets an important and critical need for private-sector investment in economically distressed urban and rural communities. It blends the market incentive of Jack Kemp’s Enterprise Zones with the flexible community-driven approach of Lyndon Johnson’s Economic Opportunity Act. Furthermore, data on the impact of the NMTC shows that it has not only achieved its purpose, but it has done so at a relatively low cost to the federal government, particularly when compared to traditional economic development grant programs,” writes Davenport.
This comes on the heels of a bipartisan sign-on letter led by Reps. Steve Stivers (R-OH), José E. Serrano (D-NY), and Mike Turner (R-OH) to Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX). The letter, which was sent on May 19th, was signed by fifty-five members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Bob Rapoza, spokesperson for the NMTC Coalition noted the importance of this letter. “The Stivers-Serrano-Turner letter demonstrates solid bipartisan support for the NMTC, which is the direct result of the program’s proven outcomes to grow businesses and local economies, including maintaining and creating over 750,000 jobs since 2003,” said Rapoza.
The NMTC Coalition will be meeting in Washington, D.C. next week on June 1st for its annual NMTC Policy Conference. During the event, the Coalition will release its 2016 NMTC Progress Report, which is the 12th edition of the report. It provides data and detailed insights into how the NMTC was used in 2015, including the types of businesses financed, the communities benefitting from the investing, and the impacts of these investments at both the community and national level.