This week the House Ways and Means Committee took the mistaken step of proposing the elimination of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program as part of a proposal for tax reform. Opportunity Fund is strongly opposed to the elimination of the NMTC program, which has enabled us to fund 21 high-impact community projects – including such neighborhood pillars as the Ravenswood Family Health Center, Educare, LA Family Housing, and the Boys and Girls Don Fisher Clubhouse – that provide critically needed services like healthcare, homeless shelters, access to healthy food, Native American job support, underserved youth services, and more to more than 400,000 low-income Californians. These investments have also helped to create, retain and support 4,500 jobs.
With investments totaling $250 million, the projects we fund become more than the buildings constructed, they are the spaces created in communities that improve access to healthcare and educational opportunities for low-income Californians across the state. Through the NMTC Program, Opportunity Fund is addressing inequality for entire communities with a single investment. We urge Members of Congress to oppose any tax reform plan which includes removal of the New Markets program.
Here is an example of the impact new markets tax credits can have: Opportunity Fund has provided NMTCs to support the Yurok Tribal Community Forest and Salmon Fishery Preserve, which is a California North Coast enterprise focused on sustainable forestry (including a carbon sequestration project), fisheries habitat protection and restoration, and ecosystem services over a 47,000-acre forested landscape in Del Norte and Humboldt Counties. The Yurok Tribe is California’s largest tribe that for thousands of years has inhabited its ancestral lands in this area. According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the unemployment rate for Tribal members is 74% and area poverty rates are very high. NMTC funding for this project has supported the creation and retention of 447 livable wage jobs with benefits for Yurok Tribe members.
At a national level, this federal program has brought over $80 billion in private capital to low income neighborhoods in rural and urban America alike. Over 5,000 projects supported include nonprofits such as health centers and schools as well as private enterprises such as manufacturing and industrial facilities. These initiatives then generate significant tax revenues which more than offset the initial program cost to taxpayers. They have created over 750,000 quality jobs as well as providing goods and services in neighborhoods and towns struggling to stay afloat in today’s economy. All this is currently at risk.
Over 2,100 organizations, including hundreds here in California, signed this letter strongly supporting this important program. What will it take for Congress to listen to the community organizations, local governments and others who are all united in support of this important program?
The House considers this bill on Monday. Speak up! Call your member of Congress today and ask that they oppose any tax reform package that eliminates the New Markets Tax Credit.