Casey Urges Administration to Name Harrisburg a Federal Promise Zone

Promise Zone Designation Would Create Unique Partnership with Administration, Potentially Direct New Resources to Economic Development in City / Promise Zone Designations Already in Place in Southeastern Kentucky, San Antonio and Philadelphia / Casey Legislation Would Take Promise Zones a Step Further By Adding Tax Credits for Businesses that Hire Residents of Promise Zones

Casey Urges Administration to Name Harrisburg a Federal Promise Zone

Washington, DC- Today U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has urged the Obama Administration to name Harrisburg a federal Promise Zone. The designation, which the city has applied for, would create a unique partnership between the city and the Administration and potentially direct new resources to spur economic development in the city. Promise Zone designations are already in place in Philadelphia, as well as in Southeastern Kentucky and San Antonio. Casey has also introduced legislation that would take the Promise Zone initiative a step further by adding tax credits for businesses that hire residents who live in Promise Zones.

“Designating Harrisburg as a Promise Zone would be a major step forward in the community’s revitalization,” Senator Casey said. “Harrisburg has made significant strides in recent years and it’s important that the federal government serve as partner in efforts to continue that progress. Harrisburg is an ideal place for a Promise Zone designation and I’m hopeful that the Administration will give the city’s application very serious consideration.”

More information on Promise Zones and what a designation could mean for Harrisburg can be found here: LINK.

Casey’s 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.

The full text of Casey’s letter can be seen below:

Dear Mr. Secretary:

It is my understanding that the City of Harrisburg located in Pennsylvania is submitting an application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to be considered for the Promise Zone designation program. I believe that this partnership with the federal government has the potential to help the City to access the resources and expertise it critically needs. I urge you to give full and fair consideration to the City of Harrisburg’s request.

I am told that Harrisburg has successfully moved out of Act 47 receivership and intends to continue effective economic development and recovery strategies to help its underserved communities. In several districts of Harrisburg, 45 percent of the residents are living at or below poverty level.  A Promise Zone designation would further assist Harrisburg in addressing chronic poverty and revitalizing communities, with a focus on creating jobs, increasing economic activity, improving educational opportunities, and increasing access to quality, affordable housing and reducing violent crime. With guidance from the federal government, Harrisburg would greatly benefit from technical assistance, federal staff support, and preferential access to federal grant programs to continue their efforts to revitalize communities throughout Harrisburg.

Thank you in advance for the consideration of my views. Please include this letter in the official record of the application. Consistent with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, I also respectfully request that you keep me informed of the status of this grant application. Finally, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to contact me or my staff.



Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator


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