WASHINGTON — Two West Virginia representatives reintroduced legislation Tuesday that is intended to spur investment in communities facing significant economic challenges due to coal industry job losses and diversify the economy in those communities.
U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., reintroduced the Creating Opportunities for Rural Economies (CORE) Act in the U.S. Senate, and U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., introduced the bill in the House of Representatives, according to releases from each representative's office.
The CORE Act would allocate a portion of available New Markets Tax Credits to be used for development in communities impacted by the downturn in coal. It previously was introduced in the House by Jenkins in November, but it died in the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee.
"States like West Virginia have suffered from severe job loss in the coal and other industries," Capito said in her release. "These distressed regions of the country need a pathway that will create new jobs, spur business investment and strengthen struggling economies."
The New Markets Tax Credit Program was enacted in 2000 to spur investment in low-income regions in projects such as mixed-use redevelopment, 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.
"Our coal communities deserve our support and investment as they work to diversify their economies and create good-paying jobs," Jenkins said in his release. "The CORE Act will provide incentives for new businesses and industries to move to coal communities in West Virginia and invest in our people."
Since 2000, more than $40 billion has been invested across the nation through new market tax credits. In that time period, only 17 projects totaling just $97 million have been invested in West Virginia, far less than neighboring states. To boost investments in states like West Virginia, the CORE Act sets aside 5 percent annually to support projects initiated in low-income, underserved communities.