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HUD Announces Community Revitalization Efforts -- Names Jacksonville, FL One of Eight New Empowerment Zones
WASHINGTON - The Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced an estimated $17 billion in tax incentives to stimulate job growth, promote economic development and create affordable housing opportunities in eight new Empowerment Zones across the country.
The official Jacksonville announcement was made in a local ceremony at The Hope Building attended by HUD Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development Roy Bernardi, Florida Lieutenant Governor Frank Brogan, and Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney.
In announcing Jacksonville as an Empowerment Zone (EZ), Assistant Secretary Bernardi said, "These tax incentives couldn't come at a better time. This critical partnership between the public and private sectors will give local businesses in designated areas, an economic boost to help drive revitalization, provide jobs and ultimately build a foundation for stronger communities."
"Not only will this initiative help revitalize the downtown and Cecil Commerce Center, it will be a shot in the arm for the neighborhoods of Springfield, East Jacksonville, Durkeeville, Talleyrand, 29th and Chase, New Town, College Gardens and LaVilla," said Mayor Delaney. "The Empowerment Zone will help businesses located in these areas and will entice new businesses to come in and set up shop."
Lt. Governor Frank Brogan said, "Jacksonville's selection as an Empowerment Zone is a compliment to its growth management planning and the leadership that Mayor Delaney has demonstrated." Mr. Brogan also cited the strength of Jacksonville's community partnership efforts in securing the designation.
These Empowerment Zones will also receive regulatory relief and tax breaks to help local businesses provide more jobs and promote community revitalization. The EZ designation provides for wage credits, tax deductions, bond financing and capital gains to stimulate economic development and job growth. Each incentive is tailored to meet the particular needs of a business and offers a significant inducement for companies to locate and hire additional workers.
The new Empowerment Zones will use the power of public and private partnerships to build a framework of economic revitalization and will encouraged public-private collaboration to generate economic development in the named urban communities. The other newly designated EZs will be located in Pulaski County, Arkansas; Fresno, California; Jacksonville, Florida; Oklahoma City; San Antonio, Texas; Yonkers, New York; and, Tucson, Arizona.
In addition to the wage credits, there are significant tax incentives available in support of qualified zone property and schools with the EZs.
Businesses located within EZs can postpone or only partially recognize the gain on the sale of certain assets, including stock and partnership interests. This benefit significantly reduces the capital gains tax liability on businesses located with these designated areas.
In addition to the incentives described above, HUD will provide technical assistance to these communities to ensure that businesses are fully aware of the many opportunities available to them. To make certain the Empowerment Zones are successful in the initial stages of their designations, HUD will host an Implementation Conference where the newly designated EZs will meet to hear from experts in the fields of business, taxes and economic development. The conference will also provide presentations from representatives from previously designated EZs recognized for their successes in forming public-private partnerships.
Like all distressed communities, Empowerment Zones will also be able to take advantage of the New Markets Tax Credits that provide investors with a credit against their federal taxes of 5 to 6 percent of the amount invested in a distressed area. Also available to Empowerment Zones is the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit providing credit against Federal taxes for owners of newly constructed or renovated rental housing.
Empowerment Zone History
The first six of the current 30 Urban Empowerment Zones were designated in 1994. They were created to establish an initiative that would rebuild communities in America's poverty-stricken areas through incentives that would entice businesses back to the inner cities. In 1998, the Initiative was expanded through a second round, incorporating an additional 15 zones.
The 2000 Community Renewal Tax Relief Act established this round of Empowerment Zones. Successful Empowerment Zone applicants had to satisfy a two-part selection process that weighed certain population and poverty criteria as well as the quality of the community's strategic plan.
Content Archived: April 9, 2010