Norton Announces Bill to Expand Business Investment in High-Poverty D.C. Neighborhoods Ahead of Tomorrow’s Job Fair
WASHINGTON, D.C.—As Congress turns to tax reform and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) prepares to host her annual Job Fair for District of Columbia residents tomorrow, Norton’s office today announced that she will introduce a bill to designate certain high-poverty neighborhoods in D.C., including parts of Wards 5, 7 and 8, as federal empowerment zones in which federal tax incentives are available to businesses that locate there and create jobs. Norton got similar federal tax incentives for investment in D.C. included in a 1997 tax bill, which helped to revitalize the District’s economy. These incentives expired in 2011. The federal empowerment zone tax incentives include a 20-percent wage credit for each employee who lives and works in the empowerment zone, up to a maximum of $3,000 per employee; expanded tax exempt bond financing; increased expensing; and special treatment of certain capital gains. Norton’s Job Fair at the Convention Center runs from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and is open to D.C. residents only.
“As we prepare to connect D.C. residents with D.C. and regional employers at our annual Job Fair, I will introduce legislation to help stimulate economic development and job creation in the D.C. neighborhoods that need it most,” Norton said. “Congress is moving to tax reform in September, and I want the D.C. empowerment zone included in that bill or in a tax extenders bill. Entire neighborhoods benefitted from our D.C. tax incentives from 1997-2011. However, this year’s Job Fair reminds us that D.C.’s extraordinarily burgeoning economy, complete with an enviable annual budget surplus, has not reached entire pockets of some D.C. neighborhoods. I will be fighting to have my bill included in the tax reform package Congress is expected to consider later this year or in tax extenders legislation.”
The national empowerment zone program, like many other so-called tax extenders, expired in 2016, but is expected to be renewed, retroactively and prospectively. Norton wants D.C. to be a part of that package or of tax reform.