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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3996, Temporary Tax Relief Act of 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 3996, TEMPORARY TAX RELIEF ACT OF 2007 -- (Extensions of Remarks - November 14, 2007)


* Mr. WATT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 3996, which will address one of the most unfair provisions in the tax code that imposes an alternative minimum tax on so many of my constituents to whom it was never intended to apply. To some of my constituents, including the retired couple that lives across the street from me, this is among the most critical issues they face.

* There is one specific tax provision being extended in this bill that I want to address specifically, the extension of the New Markets Tax Credit, NMTC, program. This tax program is critical to the revitalization of struggling communities and census tracts in our country that are in critical need of help.

* There is one critical problem with the NMTC program that needs to be addressed. The Financial Services Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, which I chair, held a hearing on October 30 entitled ``Preserving and Expanding Minority Banks,'' to review unique challenges facing minority- and women-owned financial institutions. A real concern revealed at this hearing was that minority-owned financial institutions have not been receiving allocations of credits under the NMTC program. Over the life of the program, only six minority banks have received allocations under the NMTC program and in the last round of allocations, of 61 recipients, only one minority bank was awarded new markets tax credits. This represented just $120 million of a total of $3.9 billion in tax credits awarded.

* I believe that facilitating greater access to the NMTC program for minority and women-owned financial institutions will improve the program and help ensure the revitalization of low-income urban and rural areas. I appreciate the agreement of Chairman RANGEL and Subcommittee Chairman NEAL to work with me, and perhaps to have a joint hearing with our Financial Services Subcommittee, to explore effective ways to increase participation in the NMTC program for minority- and women-owned financial institutions.

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