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West Philadelphia Was Named a ‘Promise Zone’ City by Administration Last Year / New Casey Legislation Would Boost Promise Zones by Adding Employment Tax Credits and Allowing Businesses to Quickly Write Down Improvements / Joined By Business Leaders and Stakeholders, Casey Details How New Plan Could Accelerate Development in West Philly, Across Country

Philadelphia PA- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) unveiled a plan to expand the benefits of the Promise Zone areas in West Philadelphia and across the country. This year, West Philadelphia was named a ‘Promise Zone’ by the Administration. The designation is designed to drive redevelopment in West Philadelphia. Casey’s new legislation would add to the Promise Zone benefits by adding employment tax credits and allowing businesses to more rapidly write off investments in their infrastructure. Senator Casey was joined by business leaders and stakeholders to detail how this plan could accelerate development in West Philadelphia.

“Building on this Promise Zone designation has the potential to accelerate redevelopment in West Philadelphia,” Senator Casey said. “Providing tax credits for job creation and allowing small businesses to more quickly write down their infrastructure investment can help create jobs and boost economic growth. Revitalizing a community like West Philly will have a positive impact on the entire region. Congress should quickly come together and pass this legislation.” 

Philadelphia Promise Zone

The city’s selected Promise Zone is a nearly two-square mile area in West Philadelphia. Bordered by the Schuylkill River on the east, Girard Avenue on the north, 48th Street to the west and Sansom Street to the south, the Promise Zone is home to 35,315 residents.  Implementation and supporting partners include Drexel University, Mt. Vernon Manor, Philadelphia LISC, People’s Emergency Center, Philadelphia School District, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, the City’s Commerce Department, Philadelphia Housing Authority, Office of Housing and Community Development and others.

Goals of the Philadelphia Promise Zone include:

  • Putting people back to work through skills training and adult education; classes on small business development to support entrepreneurs; loans and technical assistance for small resident-owned businesses; and the development of a supermarket providing both jobs and access to healthy food.
  • Improving high-quality education to prepare children for careers, in partnership with Drexel University and the William Penn Foundation, through increasing data-driven instruction that informs teacher professional development; developing school cultures that are conducive to teaching and learning; mentoring middle and high school youth with focus on college access and readiness; and increasing parent engagement.
  • Preventing and reducing crime in order to attract new residents and long-term investments, through strategies such as focused deterrence, hot spots policing, and foot patrol.

Casey’s new legislation would create an employment credit to be provided to businesses that employ zone residents. The credit would apply to the first $15,000 of qualifying zone employee wages. The credit rate would be 20% for zone residents who are employed within the zone and 10% for zone residents employed outside of the zone.  Additionally, qualified property placed in service within the zone would be eligible for additional first-year depreciation of 100% of the adjusted basis of the property. Qualified property for this purpose includes tangible property with a recovery period of 20 years or less, water utility property, certain computer software, and qualified leasehold improvement property.  The property must be placed in service within the zone while the zone designation is in effect.