Make New Markets Tax Credit permanent
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives and posed unprecedented health care and economic challenges.
But in this time of crisis, I am proud that Ohio businesses stepped up and answered the call, participating in the national response to the pandemic, helping save lives and exemplifying the innovating thinking that drives our state forward.
I also am proud that the New Markets Tax Credit program, which for more than 20 years has fueled meaningful private investment into communities in need, has played a crucial role in helping defeat this disease.
The program gives businesses a credit on their taxes when they invest in hard-hit areas across the nation.
Between 2003 and 2020, more than $26 billion in tax credits have been provided under this program to help private businesses participate in this important effort.
And the results speak for themselves.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted America’s widening economic rift, the NMTC helped companies in Ohio and across the country grow and invest in hard-hit communities across the Buckeye State, creating jobs and promoting exciting new economic development.
Since being enacted in 2000, it has mobilized $5.5 billion in Ohio’s distressed areas through 529 separate projects, including manufacturing expansion, daycare and community centers, business incubators and much more — all with positive and lasting impact on Ohio families and communities.
For example, in Columbus, a collection of old, disused buildings known as the Trolley Barn complex, are being refurbished into a vibrant new community marketplace, funded in part by NMTC.
I have seen firsthand many of the other sites across Ohio that utilize this important tax credit, including the UH Rainbow Center for Women & Children in Cleveland, the Bowery Project and Ronald McDonald House in Akron, the YMCA in Youngstown, Dayton Children’s Hospital in Dayton, and Nehemiah Manufacturing in my hometown of Cincinnati.
Each of these projects have helped create new jobs in poor communities.
These projects are standout examples of how NMTC projects grow and lead to further investments in these vulnerable communities for years to come.
In all, projects financed in connection with NMTCs have created nearly 56,000 jobs across Ohio.
For example, in Athens, Stirling Ultracold has used an NMTC not only to invest in the community, but also to expand and grow their business.
This investment has paid dividends for us all, as Stirling Ultracold has been a leader in safely refrigerating and transporting the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines we are relying on to defeat this ongoing pandemic.
With strong support from both sides of the aisle and 20 years of success stories, we know the NMTC works.
When other members tried to eliminate the NMTC program during tax reform in 2017, I successfully fought to preserve it and, most recently, I fought to ensure a five-year extension of the credit was included in the appropriations package signed into law last December.
But we must act to build on bipartisan support to make the New Markets Tax Credit permanent, giving businesses the peace of mind to make these life-changing investments in communities that need it.
To that end, I was proud to join my colleague, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., to introduce bipartisan legislation earlier this year to permanently extend this critical program.
Over the past two decades, we have seen the NMTC lift up communities in need across Ohio and all the U.S., generating investment, jobs and economic vitality.
The work of Stirling Ultracold during this pandemic shows how these investments can benefit all of us.
If we can secure a permanent extension of the NMTC, it would help grow our economy economic by driving $5 billion of private investment into distressed communities across the U.S. each year and give more Americans the opportunity to find good-paying jobs with real meaning.
We should seize the opportunity to help these long-overlooked communities grow and thrive for years to come.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, represents the state in Washington, D.C. He hails from the Cincinnati area.