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Published On: Tue, Apr 19th, 2016

Rand Paul: ‘Economic Freedom Zones would be the largest anti-poverty initiative since the War on Poverty’

U.S. Senator Rand Paul announced Monday plans for the Senate to vote this week on his legislation, known as the Economic Freedom Zones Act of 2015. The legislation, S.790, will be voted on as an amendment to H.R. 2028, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

2015 photo/ Gage Skidmore

2015 photo/ Gage Skidmore

The Economic Freedom Zones Act will establish free market enterprise zones and dramatically reduce taxes in order to help facilitate the creation of new jobs, entrepreneurial opportunities, enhance and renew educational opportunities and increase community involvement in bankrupt or economically distressed areas. These zones will apply to any zip code with unemployment greater than one and a half times the national average. Sen. Paul originally introduced the legislation for the 114th Congress in March 2015.

“Economic Freedom Zones would be the largest anti-poverty initiative since the War on Poverty. There are many communities in our country, and throughout Kentucky, still waiting and praying for economic recovery and opportunity,” said Sen. Paul.

“The Economic Freedom Zones Act will allow impoverished areas to remove the shackles of big government by reducing taxes, regulations, and burdensome work requirements. By taking drastic, meaningful action, my legislation will create new jobs, get these communities back to work, and give Americans in these areas the chance to succeed. I am proud to have secured a vote on my proposal this week,” Sen. Paul continued.

Top-line bullet points and background information on the Economic Freedom Zones Act can be found HERE or below.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The Economic Freedom Zone legislation will provide the following:

  • Immediate Relief – The quickest way to spur economic recovery is to allow residents and successful businesses to keep more of the money they earn so they can more fully engage in economic activity. Economic Freedom Zones achieve this by:
    • Reducing the individual and corporate income tax to a single, flat rate of 5 percent;
    • Reducing payroll taxes by 2 percent for both the employer and employee, at no cost to the trust funds.
  • Mid-Term Reinvestment – The quickest way to spur economic recovery is to allow residents While tax cuts provide immediate relief, economic recovery also requires new investment in communities. Economic Freedom Zones empower both business and local government to make these critical investments by:
    • Attracting Business
      • Double the amount of 100 percent expensing of all business investment costs;
      • Suspending eligible capital gains taxes;
      • Suspending EPA non-attainment designations in Economic Freedom Zone areas; and
      • Providing municipalities option to waive certain land use restrictions.
    • Freeing Municipalities to foster growth
      • Exempting eligible municipalities from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System requirements;
      • Streamlining National Environmental Policy Act requirements for construction projects; and
      • Suspend Davis-Bacon wage requirements.
  • Long-Term Revitalization – For communities to thrive over the long-term, they need to develop and attract the best human capital possible. Economic Freedom Zones help build a 21st Century workforce made up of local talent while attracting new workers.
    • Providing states with school choice options with Dept. of Education Title I portability funding for areas designated Economic Freedom Zones;
    • Providing a new $5,000 per child educational tax credit to parents or guardians;
    • Establish new Economic Freedom Zone Charitable Tax Credit for entities in eligible areas for –
      • Religious organizations or institutions;
      • Educational entities, including educational scholarships;
      • Homeless shelters and food banks.
    • Establishing new Economic Freedom Zone Visa (at the State’s discretion) –
      • Entrepreneurial investment: for qualified immigrants creating a new business and employing 5 U.S. citizens; and
      • Education performance needs: for qualified immigrants with a specialty degree or higher education qualification meeting Economic Freedom Zone needs.

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