Washington DC- Today U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has urged the Obama Administration to name Pittsburgh 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.
“Pittsburgh has always been a city that creates its own future. Designating the city as a ‘promise zone’ would help Pittsburgh continue its revitalization,” Senator Casey said. “Creating this unique partnership between Pittsburgh and the Administration could have an impact on the entire region. I’m hopeful that the Administration will give the city’s application very serious consideration.”
“We are grateful for Senator Casey’s support of Pittsburgh’s application for the Promise Zone program. While there are many positive things going on in our communities, there are pockets that could use the help that being designed as a Promise Zone provides,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Having the access to and support of federal agencies to help create jobs, increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities and reduce violent crime allows us to continue building upon the successes in our region.”
More information on Promise Zones and what a designation could mean for Pittsburgh 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 Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
Dear Mr. Secretary:
The City of Pittsburgh has submitted 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 Pittsburgh’s request.
The City has already taken steps toward advancing the goals of the Promise Zone initiative by building upon existing partnerships and engaging marginalized communities and residents. A Promise Zone designation would further assist the City in addressing chronic poverty and revitalizing communities, with a focus on job creation, increasing economic activity, improving educational opportunities, making quality, affordable housing more accessible and reducing violent crime. The designation creates opportunities for collaboration on regional planning efforts, as well as resources for implementation. With guidance from the federal government, the City would greatly benefit from technical assistance, federal staff support, and preferential access to federal grant programs to continue their efforts to revitalize communities throughout the City.
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.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator