[Hpn] Poor Communities Bill awaits President's expected signature (fwd)

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Fri, 22 Dec 2000 13:12:04 -0800 (PST)


Does funding for "Empowerment ZONES" help "Poor PEOPLE" in poor comunities? Who benefits and loses _most_ from federal funding for Empowerment Zones? http://www.newsday.com/ap/text/topnews/ap650.htm FWD AP Top News - 15 December 2000 Poor Communities Bill Nears Passage by CURT ANDERSON AP Tax Writer WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hoping to ignite economic growth in stubborn pockets of poverty, Congress passed legislation Friday authorizing tax breaks to create jobs, provide venture capital for development and clean up pollution in dozens of downtrodden communities. President Clinton has already signaled his support, calling the initiative ''the most significant effort ever to help hard-pressed communities lift themselves up through private investment and entrepreneurship.'' The House passed the measure 292-60. The Senate passed it by unanimous consent. ''Whether a community is rural or urban, it should share in the prosperity that we as a nation have achieved,'' said Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. ''This legislation helps open our success to those areas that have been historically left behind.'' The House and Senate approved the $25.8 billion, 10-year package before adjourning for the year, a rare bipartisan accomplishment on tax legislation. It was attached to an emerging overall budget agreement that has eluded Congress since the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year. ''I am gratified that we could get this legislation done for those people who want a better life for their families,'' said House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. ''This legislation will serve as a model of bipartisan cooperation for years to come.'' Congress also gave final passage late Friday to a bill repealing a 1999 rule that has forced thousands of small business owners to pay capital gains taxes in lump sums when they sell their businesses, even if the buyer is paying in annual installments. The bill, which costs $2.1 billion over 10 years, fixes what many lawmakers consider a mistake. ''It should serve as a lesson to all politicians who talk about closing loopholes,'' said Rep. Bill Archer, R-Texas, retiring chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. ''Closing loopholes is always a good sound bite for politicians, whereas the real-life result is usually a bigger tax bite.'' Partisan differences between Democrats and Republicans killed several broader tax cuts, but Clinton and Hastert were able to keep a commitment they made earlier this year on the anti-poverty measures. ''It will represent a remarkable achievement at the end of this year,'' said White House spokesman Jake Siewert. Specifically, the bill will: --Authorize designation of 40 new ''renewal communities'', including 12 in rural areas, where tax breaks apply including a zero capital gains rate, a 15 percent wage credit and higher business expense write-off limits. The final bill omitted language inserted in previous versions by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., that would have required one of the communities to be Madison County, Miss. -- where Nissan is building an auto plant. --Extend through Dec. 31, 2009, the current ''empowerment zones,'' which enjoy tax benefits similar to those in the new renewal communities. Nine more empowerment zones will be authorized. --Create a ''New Markets'' tax credit for investments in entities involved in development in low-income areas. About $8 billion in investments would be eligible for the credit over the next seven years. --Extend until Jan. 1, 2004, tax deductions for cleanup of contaminated ''brownfield'' sites, which are frequently old industrial areas that could be used anew by job-creating businesses. --Raise the limits on tax credits for construction or renovation of housing for low-income people. --Extend through 2003 an expiring charitable tax deduction for companies that donate computers and other equipment to schools and public libraries. Initially worded in a way that specifically helped computer maker Gateway Inc., the provision was changed to make it apply more broadly, Archer said. --Permit faith-based substance abuse treatment programs nationwide to receive federal assistance ''without discrimination based on the religious character of the program.'' As with most tax bills, the legislation also includes several unrelated items, including a two-year extension of tax deductible medical savings accounts people can use to plan financially for future health expenses. These were set to expire on Dec. 31. The measure also reflects an adjustment of the consumer price index due to a computer mistake in data published by the Labor Department, which slightly affected the increase in government benefits for programs such as Social Security. The change will cost the government $5.7 billion over 10 years. In addition, it includes a provision enabling parents to continue claiming a kidnapped child as a dependent on tax returns. AP-NY-12-15-00 2018EST END FORWARD HPN Archives constantly update NEWS on Homeless People organizing worldwide: *********************************************************** 9000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ***********************************************************