Capito Introduces Coalfield Bailout Bill

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has introduced legislation aimed at helping communities in West Virginia and other states facing hardship due to coalfield job losses.

The bill, called the Creating Opportunities for Rural Economies, or CORE Act, has not yet been assigned a bill number, but was introduced by Capito on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. Capito hopes the bill will be taken up when Congress reconvenes following the general election.

The legislation would set aside a percentage of funding from the federal New Markets Tax Credits program to help fund projects to put people back to work in communities hit by losses in the coal industry, according to Capito spokeswoman Ashley Berrang.

“West Virginia and other states facing severe job losses in the coal industry are in dire need of new economic investment," Capito said. "By leveraging the power of the New Markets Tax Credit Program, the CORE Act presents a tremendous opportunity for underserved communities across the country to receive critical funding for projects that will help create new job opportunities, spur business investment, revitalize communities, and strengthen struggling economies.”

According to Berrang, "The New Markets Tax Credit Program was enacted in 2000 to spur investment in low-income regions. The program supports investment in projects such as mixed-use redevelopment projects, health care facilities, manufacturing facilities and direct investments in businesses. Investors receive a 39 percent tax credit over a seven year period in return for investing in these communities."

Berrang said $3.5 billion will be distributed through the tax credit program over the next three years. Capito's bill would set aside 5 percent of that funding for 12 states affected by the loss of coal jobs, which include Alabama, Colorado, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Berrang said West Virginia and other affected states have not taken full advantage of funding available through the tax credit program. "The CORE Act aims to increase the number of projects initiated in West Virginia and other underserved areas," she said.

By:  Rusty Marks
Source: The State Journal