Public and Nonprofit Organization Initiatives to Rejuvenate Blighted Neighborhoods
Local, state and federal governments have taken different approaches with regard to implementing programs to address the range of issues related to blighted neighborhoods in America’s metropolitan areas. Neighborhood blight, which can negatively affect the health and safety of citizens and lower revenue inflows as a result of declining property values, remain a significant challenge in several American cities. Due to the local nature of these conditions, local or community level organizations typically target blight removal, using federal and state funds channeled through state agencies. Along with assistance either offered or funneled through various government agencies, a number of nonprofit organizations also are actively involved in creating innovative solutions to eradicating blighted neighborhoods.
Initiatives to address this issue emerge from three main groups: federal, state and nonprofit.
Several federal agency programs offer grant funding for use by states to remove blight, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Neighborhood Stabilization Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields and Land Revitalization Act, National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund Grants-in-Aid for State, Tribal, and Local Government Programs, U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration Planning and Local Technical Assistance Program, and the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Program. The federal HUD agency also compiles data on vacancy rates and highlights strategies for identifying, targeting, and eliminating urban blight, as well as innovative ways to rejuvenate affected areas and the surrounding communities.
States and the Federal New Markets Tax Credit Program
(Information Compiled on February 4, 2015)
The New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC Program) was established by Congress in 2000 to spur new or increased investments into operating businesses and real estate projects located in low-income communities. The NMTC Program attracts investment capital to low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a tax credit against their federal income tax return in exchange for making equity investments in specialized financial institutions called Community Development Entities (CDEs). The credit totals 39 percent of the original investment amount and is claimed over a period of seven years (5 percent for each of the first three years, and 6 percent for each of the remaining four years). The investment in CDEs cannot be redeemed before the end of the seven-year period.
In 1994, the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, or CDFI Fund, was created under aegis of the U.S. Department of the Treasury to promote economic revitalization and community development through investment in and assistance to community development financial institutions (CDFIs). The CDFI Fund achieves its purpose by promoting access to capital and local economic growth through initiatives such as the NMTC Program. Since its inception, the CDFI Fund has made 836 awards allocating a total of $40 billion in tax credit authority to CDEs through a competitive application process. This $40 billion includes $3 billion in Recovery Act Awards and $1 billion of special allocation authority to be used for the recovery and redevelopment of the Gulf Opportunity Zone.
SLC States Dominate Site Selection Magazine's 2014 Top State Business Climate Rankings
The 2014 Site Selection magazine's top state business climate rankings were released recently and most impressively, 9 of the top 10 states belong to the Southern office of The Council of State Governments (CSG), the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC). Site Selection, a source of information for economic planning decision-makers both nationally and internationally, ranked Georgia the state with the top business climate in the country (a ranking the state secured in 2013 also) for a host of reasons, including the state's Quick Start workforce training program, logistics infrastructure and economic development leadership. Louisiana was another SLC state that performed admirably in 2014, vaulting from sixth place in 2013 to second this year in the magazine's overall rankings. In probing the most important factors that drive company location decisions, Site Selection highlighted several attributes that many SLC states have focused on expanding in recent years, including transportation infrastructure, ease of permitting and regulatory procedures and existing workforce skills.
For more details on the 2014 Site Selection rankings and review process, please visit http://www.siteselection.com/issues/2014/nov/cover.cfm.
At the 64th annual meeting of the SLC in Charleston, South Carolina, Mr. Adam Bruns, Managing Editor, Site Selection Magazine was a featured speaker at the SLC's Economic Development, Transportation and Cultural Affairs Committee. For a copy of his presentation, please visit Adam Bruns, Managing Editor - Site Selection Magazine, Georgia.
For information related to economic development trends in the SLC states, please contact Sujit M. CanagaRetna, Fiscal Policy Manager and Staff Liaison to the SLC's Economic Development, Transportation and Cultural Affairs Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Federal Government Awards $450 Million in Workforce Development Grants to States
Public and private sector officials alike realize that comprehensively training America’s workers for available positions in a number of emerging fields remains a critical ingredient in advancing our economy at the state, regional and national levels. In an effort to recruit and train workers to staff the sophisticated 21st century manufacturing jobs in many parts of the country, states are actively providing workforce training programs to their residents. The economic development agencies in a number of states belonging to the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), the Southern office of The Council of State Governments, place a great deal of emphasis on these training support programs and work closely with their community college system and their corporate partners to ensure that students receive the most up-to-date and wide-ranging training to staff these demanding positions. The SLC has been closely tracking the issue of state efforts to advance workforce development for several years in multiple ways: publications, Webinars and presentations.1
In a significant boost to these state efforts, in late September 2014, the federal government announced the awarding of $450 million in job-driven training grants that would be disbursed to nearly 270 community colleges across the country, a process that will be co-administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education.2 The grants are designed to provide community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to partner with employers to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that will help job seekers get the skills they need for in-demand jobs in industries like information technology, healthcare, energy, and advanced manufacturing.
Remarks at Briefing before Representatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(Arranged by the Georgia Council for International Visitors (GCIV) and International Visitor Leadership Program, U.S. Department of State)
Welcome to Atlanta, Georgia. Thank you for the invitation to be here with you today. My colleague Mikko Lindberg and I are pleased to be here. My name is Sujit CanagaRetna and I am the Fiscal Policy Manager at The Council of State Governments’ (CSG) Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) here in Atlanta.
Founded in 1933, CSG is the only organization in the nation that serves all three branches of state government. CSG is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that promotes the exchange of insights, innovative ideas and the sharing of best practices to help state officials shape public policy. CSG’s major strength is its regional focus; consequently, the SLC located here in Georgia covers 15 Southern states and the regional offices in California, Illinois and New York cover states in those parts of the country. CSG is headquartered in Kentucky and also has an office in Washington, D.C. For those of you have spent any time reading and studying the United States, you know how different each region of the U.S. is. Hence, it is much likelier that a state policymaker in North Carolina will be interested in a piece of legislation from Tennessee than say a piece of legislation from New Jersey.
Economic Development Trends from the States
States Efforts to Promote the Motion Picture and Video Game Industries
In June 2007, the SLC issued a report entitled Lights! Camera! Action! Southern State Efforts to Attract Filmmakers' Business. The major objective of the report was to hone in on a trend that was sweeping across the country: states, led by 2002 landmark legislation in Louisiana, working proactively to lure the motion picture and television industries to work within their borders. In addition, the report highlighted why the film industry landscape in the United States had become very competitive, vis-à-vis international locations in Canada and Eastern Europe, in the early to mid-years of the decade and provided details on some of the aggressive new and revised financial and other incentives offered by states to filmmakers.
Since the release of this SLC report, two important developments have surfaced that require attention:
A number of studies contend that state film incentives are not a sound investment of scarce state tax dollars and that states should strongly reevaluate continuing the practice. For instance, in a study released in March 2009, Professor Susan Christopherson, Cornell University, maintained that "most of the three dozen states chasing film production with tax breaks will not catch up with New York and California, where the movie and television industries have been dug in for decades. The subsidies they're giving the productions don't have a long-term economic impact for the state." Another study, prepared by Robert Tannenwald at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities also maintained "[I]n the harsh light of reality, film subsidies offer little bang for the buck."
Deadline to Secure New Federal Funding Promoting Small Businesses Imminent
Southern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments
The federal Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 is designed to generate critical resources to help small businesses drive economic recovery and create jobs. An important component of this new legislation involves the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), a formula grant program structured to assist local entrepreneurs and small business owners secure the necessary credit to expand their businesses, create jobs and generate revenue. Specifically, the SSBCI provides $1.5 billion in federal funding to states to initiate programs that expand credit opportunities for small businesses. State commitment to involve the private sector in implementing these programs remains a critical element of the SSBCI, and states are required to demonstrate and help facilitate $10 in new private lending for every $1 in federal funding. In total, it is anticipated that the $1.5 billion federal commitment will lead to a minimum of $15 billion in additional private sector lending to spur small businesses.
Given the urgency relating to releasing credit to worthy small business operations to drive economic growth, there are a number of tight deadlines associated with states accessing the SSBCI funds. These deadlines include the following:
Of note, if a state fails to file a Notice of Intent (by November 26, 2010) or an Application (by June 26, 2011), municipalities in the state have until September 26, 2011, to present the necessary paperwork for accessing SSBCI funds in lieu of the state. In addition, while small businesses are the sole beneficiaries of these SSBCI funds, states may contract with not-for profit and for-profit organizations to actually implement the programs.
How much DOE Recovery Act Funding has been allocated to Southern states?
(Click header to sort each column)
|State||Total Awarded||Total Outlays||Percent of SLC Total Awards||Percent of SLC Total Outlays||Percentage of U.S. Total Awards||Percentage of U.S. Total Outlays|
Economic Status of the States
The current U.S. economic outlook is very grim. While this is not news to those here today, the goal of my presentation is to provide you with data and information – based on my research and review of a host of different sources – related to the gravity of our economic challenges and some insights into what states are doing to cope with these tests.
The U.S. economy faces monumental challenges of the magnitude not experienced since the Great Depression. Our economy has been ensnared in a recession since December 2007, a recession that has already exceeded the average length of all post World War Two recessions. It is expected that it will last well into 2009, making it the longest since the 1930s. In terms of output, U.S. gross domestic product, GDP, shrank by 3.8 percent in the final quarter of 2008, the worst GDP showing since the first quarter of 1982. The national unemployment rate soared to 7.6 percent in January 2009, the highest rate since September 1992 and the U.S. economy lost nearly 600,000 jobs last month, the largest one-month job loss since December 1974.
From Blues to Benton to Bluegrass: the Economic Impact of the Arts in the South
It is a great honor to be here and my thanks to Chairman Hill for extending this invitation to me and to The Council of State Governments. Established in 1933, The Council works primarily with state legislatures in tracking trends, carrying out research and analysis and promoting state interests through continuing education. While I work for The Council's Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) here in Atlanta, the Council is headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky and also has regional offices in New York, California, Illinois and Washington, D.C.
The economic impact of the arts is an issue that the SLC has been studying for well over two decades now. The SLC's ongoing review of this topic and publications is a reflection of the recognition of its importance to SLC economies and public officials in the South. As demonstrated in these reports, a relatively miniscule investment in the arts results in substantially larger financial returns alongside many other benefits.
My presentation this afternoon will summarize a report I completed earlier this year entitled From Blues to Benton to Bluegrass: the Economic Impact of the Arts in the South, the latest SLC report focusing on the arts in 16 Southern states. Broadly, my presentation comprises five interconnected parts. Part I highlights the key benefits of the arts and Part II reviews legislative appropriations to the arts between fiscal years 2001 and 2005, the report's review period. Part III documents national and SLC state economic impact trends while Part IV focuses on some of the alternate funding mechanisms pursued by states during the recent fiscal downturn. Finally, Part V describes state efforts to harness cultural and heritage tourism as a means to generate positive economic flows.
From Blues to Benton to Bluegrass: The Economic Impact of the Arts in the South
The Economic Impact of the Arts in the South
From Blues to Benton to Bluegrass
A Special Series Report of the Southern Legislative Conference
Accessing Capital for Rural Economic Development
The Rural Lens
It is important that as people concerned with the health and success of rural America, we look at activities and policies with a "rural lens." This means that when any policy action is considered, its impact on rural communities and the people who live there is considered, with respect to economic development, too much of economic development is repeating what worked, which drives investment and resources to metropolitan areas and industries. Rural places are different in many ways, not the least of which is the importance to the rural economy of small businesses and microenterprise. Adding a few jobs to several existing enterprises in a rural place can have as great and impact for less investment that importing a new industry from somewhere else. Honoring the existing community asset base, and building on the advantages rural places have in many ways, will help to map the path to a more prosperous rural future.
My comments this morning will take a broad look at the capital available for rural development, with some attention paid to the role of state government in rural capital. I will focus my discussion principally on capital for entrepreneurs and rural businesses, with some discussion of programs to serve communities as well. Finally, I will share with you a handful of notable programs from around the country that stand out for their excellence in serving particular needs in their communities or for their strength in serving rural communities.
I think it will be of use to begin with what may be review for everyone, but which sets the stage for our later discussion.
With regard to economic development, there are essentially two types of capital: debt and equity. Debt is capital that an entrepreneur has to pay back. Equity is capital that an investor gives up to become a part owner in the company.
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