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Brown pitches community investment bill

Melissa Topey • Apr 12, 2014 at 9:40 PM

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has introduced legislation that would provide incentives for manufacturers to invest in local communities hit hard by factory closures in the recession.

His plan, the Manufacturing Communities Investment Act, would build on the New Markets Tax Credit, which expired at the end of 2013.

“In manufacturing communities across this nation, the local factory can be the lifeblood of the community. And as we know all too well, the closure of a factory devastates the workers, their families and the entire community,” Brown said in a statement. “This tax credit would provide private investors with real incentives to invest in companies that want to breathe new life into shuttered manufacturing facilities and create new jobs”

The New Market Tax Credit was designed to give community developers financial incentives to invest in low-income areas. The Manufacturing Investment Act would extend the New Market Tax Credit for an additional three years, increasing its annual allocation from $3.5 billion to $5 billion.

It would sweeten the deal in hard-hit towns by providing an additional $1 billion a year in 2014, 2015 and 2016 for manufacturing investments in communities that have suffered major manufacturing job loss, according to Brown’s office.

The legislation passed through the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday.

Norwalk could potentially use the new tax credit because of the 296 jobs lost when Janesville Acoustics closed its doors last year.

The bill, if approved, could only help communities trying to turn an obstacle into an opportunity, said Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan.

Manufacturers tend to look at large communities when looking to build because of the infrastructure in place, such as major highways, waterways and airports, as well as incentives they can offer.

“This is another tool to put in our toolbox” Duncan said. “Norwalk is just as important as the three C’s — Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati”

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