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Hawai‘i Senators Join in Introducing Bill To Improve Economic Prosperity Of Native Communities

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Kalo on Maui. PC: Wendy Osher

US Sen. Brian Schatz and Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawai‘i joined fellow senators from Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan in introducing legislation aimed at improving the economic prosperity of Native communities.

The “Inspiring Nationally Vibrant Economies Sustaining Tribes or INVEST Act seeks to improve the existing New Markets Tax Credit program to more effectively reach Native communities, such as those in Hawai‘i.

“By attracting new investment to communities that need it most, the New Markets Tax Credit program is a powerful force for economic development. But Native communities have been left behind,” said Senator Schatz. “This bill will make sure Native communities receive their fair share of allocations and will drive more investments into Native Hawaiian communities to help grow our local economy.”

The NMTC program was established in 2000 to encourage private investment in low-income communities that traditionally lack access to capital. Investors who make qualified equity investments reduce their federal income tax liability by claiming the credit. Unfortunately, NMTC activity has been highly concentrated in just a few states, with the 10 states with the highest activity accounting for over 50 percent of all NMTC activity. The 25 states with the least NMTC activity account for less than 13 percent of all activity. Furthermore, the current NMTC program has no built-in mechanism to ensure that NMTC investments reach Native American communities.

“The New Market Tax Credit program has been an effective tool for promoting community development and economic growth across the country, but more can be done to ensure Native communities share in that success. Under this legislation, Native Hawaiian communities in our state and other Native communities across the country will benefit from new access to much-needed resources,” Senator Hirono said. “I am proud to join Senator Murkowski to introduce this legislation to support Native communities and build on the program’s success.”

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