Press Release

May 18, 2021
Cardin, Wicker, Colleagues Reintroduce ‘Rural Jobs Act’ to Fight Rural Poverty, Create Jobs
Bipartisan Legislation Would Boost Investment in Rural and Distressed Communities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) Mark Warner (D-Va), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), along with U.S. Representatives Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Jason Smith (R-Mo.), today introduced the “Rural Jobs Act,” legislation that would build on the success of the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) by bringing hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment to some of the most disadvantaged rural communities in America.

“In Maryland, the New Markets Tax Credit has been deployed throughout our state on a diverse range of infrastructure and community development efforts. I am pleased to support this bipartisan legislation, which will further the reach of the program to low-income rural communities, creating jobs and stimulating our economy across Maryland and across America,” Senator Cardin said.

“Recent jobs reports have shown that our nation is on the path to recovery, but there is more progress to be made,” Senator Wicker said. “The Rural Jobs Act would help boost private investment in rural communities through expanded tax incentives. This legislation would be an important addition to the New Market Tax Credit Program, which has already spurred tens of billions of private investment in distressed communities.” 

“New Market Tax Credits have had proven success in reviving local economies and creating needed jobs in communities around the country. Unfortunately, less than one in four jobs created by this program have been in rural communities,” Senator Warner said. “This legislation will bridge this job creation gap by earmarking additional tax credits specifically for rural and underserved regions, which are suffering tremendously due to the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.”

“The Rural Jobs Act builds on the momentum of the New Market Tax Credit to support job creation and economic opportunities in rural communities,” Senator Boozman said. “I’m pleased to advocate for policies that will reinvigorate investment in areas of Arkansas that need it most.”

“Boosting tax credits to encourage investment in rural Arizona communities will help create good-paying jobs and continue fueling Arizona’s economic recovery,” Senator Sinema said.

“The Rural Jobs Act will ensure that rural communities benefit from the New Market Tax Credit program, which provides tax credits to incentivize private investment in communities. Our bipartisan legislation will help to spur additional private investment in North Dakota, and help to create jobs and opportunities in rural communities across the country,” Senator Hoeven said.

“The New Markets Tax Credits program has played a vital role in helping economically distressed communities in West Virginia attract the private capital needed for economic development investments,” Senator Capito said. “The Rural Jobs Act expands upon this already powerful tool by ensuring these investments occur in the communities that need them the most. I’m proud to continue supporting this legislation that I know will go a long way in providing the boost these areas of West Virginia need.”

“By creating Rural Job Zones, more investment will be specifically targeted to areas where it is most needed to lift communities through job creation and development.  For Mississippi, the Rural Jobs Act could be a game changer, and I hope this legislation gets the attention it deserves as we work to build a strong post-pandemic economy,” Senator Hyde-Smith said.

“The New Market Tax Credit is a lifeline for rural communities across the country and right here in Alabama’s 7th District, spurring much needed investment and creating good-paying jobs in regions that need them most,” Representative Sewell said. “By expanding the NMTC, the Rural Jobs Act recognizes the promise and the potential of some of our most underserved communities, which is why I am proud to introduce this critical legislation. This is one more step toward ensuring that our rural, underserved communities like many in the Black Belt are not left behind.”

“Too often, federal programs reward big cities, leaving rural areas behind. The Rural Jobs Act targets investment to our most overlooked communities, helping to ensure opportunities for working-class Americans,” Representative Smith said.

The Rural Jobs Act would expand upon the NMTC program, which provides a modest tax incentive to private investors to invest in low-income communities. NMTC projects have spurred over $42 billion in private investment and generated over one million jobs since 2000. However, less than one in four NMTC jobs have been created in rural communities.

The Rural Jobs Act would help close the job creation gap by designating $500 million in NMTC investments for “Rural Job Zones,” which are low-income communities that have a population smaller than 50,000 inhabitants and are not adjacent to an urban area. Under this new definition, Rural Job Zones would be established in 342 out of the 435 congressional districts across the country.

The bill would also require that at least 25 percent of this new investment activity be targeted to persistent poverty counties and high migration counties. There are approximately 400 persistent poverty counties in the United States, 85 percent of which are located in non-metro or rural areas.

Read the full text of the Rural Jobs Act here.