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On Tuesday, April 1, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters convened an outdoor press conference at Gateway Marketplace, located on Eight Mile Road at Woodward Avenue in Detroit to highlight the impact of the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) program.

With a T-Mobile store and Wing Stop eatery serving as backdrops, Peters praised the impact of the New Market Tax Credit and its utilization in empowering the city and surrounding community.

“As we are standing here today, we are looking at a revitalized shopping center, which has brought hundreds of jobs, fresh food and economic development to this community,” said Peters. “It is clear that this project would not have existed without the New Market Tax Credit Program, which allows tax credits to come into areas of high unemployment to create projects that will create jobs and create opportunities.”

Peters has advocated for the NMTC program since coming to Congress in 2009 by voting for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which increased the NMTC allocation for 2008 and 2009 to $5 billion from $3.5 billion. In 2010, he voted for the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 that extended the NMTC authorization through 2011 at a $3.5 billion funding level, and then voted for the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which extended the New Markets Tax Credit program for two years with $7 billion in allocations ($3.5 billion per year).

“The New Market Tax Credit program has been a great success story here in Detroit and across the state of Michigan, as we have been able to leverage over $600 million in investments in Michigan with the new tax credit,” said Peters, who is running for U.S. Senate to replace outgoing Sen. Carl Levin.

Joining Peters was Don Graves, executive director of President Obama’s council on jobs and competitiveness. In addition, several of the complex’s business owners were present, along with community leaders and residents.

“It’s so good to be here in Detroit and to join Rep. Peters, a champion of these smart investments, because we both are committed to seeing a resurgent Detroit with a strong business sector, robust job creation and a growing middle class,” said Graves. “The Treasury Department’s DCFI Fund has used the New Market Tax Credit Program to make a tangible difference in communities across the country, and especially here in Detroit. The Gateway Plaza is a great example of how this program can make a positive difference in the community. Where there was once vacant land, you now see thriving businesses and jobs for Detroiters.”

The New Market Tax Credit was created in 2000 in an effort to stimulate private investment and economic growth in low income urban neighborhoods and rural communities that lacked access to capital needed to support and grow business, create jobs, and sustain healthy local economies. NMTC represents a 39 percent federal tax credit, over seven years on investments made in economically distressed communities.

While the NMTC program has helped such cities as Detroit, it is not currently authorized beyond the current round of allocations. Peters and approximately 70 members of the House of Representatives, in a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee, are pushing for the program to continue.

“We are working to increase this New Market Tax Credit,” Peters said. “There is a new bill that’s been introduced into Congress that will extend this bill for two more years. I believe that it (passing of the bill) is absolutely essential for the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan, and the country.”

Graves said, “President Obama feels so strongly about the New Market Tax Credit Program, and the impact that it provides, that he has asked to not only keep the program going, but to expand it and its budget. The president wants to expand it beyond the $3.5 billion to $5 billion, and he wants to make the program permanent.”

“The president has made a commitment for his administration to work in Detroit, to partner with local organizations and supply resources as they are needed. Last fall, $300 million in federal dollars were unlocked that are coming to the city.”

Prior to the press conference, Peters hosted a roundtable discussion on the successes and future opportunities related to the New Market Tax Credit program and its impact on places such as Gateway Marketplace, which features a Meijer Super Center as the complex’s anchor store. With Meijer and Marshalls, there are more than a dozen other stores.

“We need to make investments that continue to create jobs,” said Peters. “We need to help grow small businesses and strengthen our middle class.”

One small business owner was on hand to speak about the impact of the New Market Tax Credit and his relatively new eatery in Gateway Marketplace.

“Without the New Market Tax Credit, I don’t think that my business partner and I would have been able to bring Wing Stop to this shopping complex,” said John Draper, II, brand partner for Wing Stop. “Because of the tax credits we were able to come here and have a competitive deal and make the economics work. We have been able to create 28 jobs at Wing Stop, most of which have gone to Detroiters and we will continue to invest at this location.”

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