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Sen. Paul pushes Economic Freedom Zones

Sen. Rand Paul filed an amendment to H. R. 2028 the Energy Policy Modernization Act.

The amendment would create "economic freedom zones" from some government regulations and taxes. The effort, needing 60 votes to pass, failed on a vote of 35-62.

In his floor address supporting the amendment, Paul said: "Jack Kemp and others who have looked and examined the issue of poverty have often found that we haven't done a great job alleviating poverty. We've tried government programs in my state. We've tried them in rural Appalachia for 40 years, and yet we still have persistent poverty.

Many of us believe that we would have a better chance with poverty if we would lower taxes in these areas, lessen regulation and instead of sending the money to Washington, leave it where the poverty is.

My bill alone would leave $500 million in eastern Kentucky, $200 million in Louisville."

Paul filed similar legislation in 2014. Since there is no reason to believe he won't file it again, the salient points of economic freedom zones (that include far western Kentucky, according to an email from Christina Peterson, the Senator's West KY liaison.

The Economic Freedom Zone legislation will provide the following:

  • Immediate Relief - The quickest way to spur economic recovery is to allow residents and successful businesses to keep more of the money they earn so they can more fully engage in economic Economic Freedom Zones achieve this by:
    • Reducing the individual and corporate income tax to a single, flat rate of 5 percent;
    • Reducing payroll taxes by 2 percent for both the employer and employee, at no cost to the trust
  • Mid-Term Reinvestment -While tax cuts provide immediate relief, economic recovery also requires new investment in communities. Economic Freedom Zones empower both business and local government to make these critical investments by:
    • Attracting Business
    • Double the amount of 100 percent expensing of all business investment costs;
    • Suspending eligible capital gains taxes;
    • Suspending EPA non-attainment designations in Economic Freedom Zone areas; and
    • Providing municipalities option to waive certain land use restrictions.

o Freeing Municipalities to foster growth

  • Exempting eligible municipalities from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System requirements;
  • Streamlining National Environmental Policy Act requirements for construction projects; and
  • Suspend Davis-Bacon wage requirements.

  • Long-Term Revitalization - For communities to thrive over the long-term, they need to develop and attract the best human capital possible. Economic Freedom Zones help build a 21st Century workforce made up of local talent while attracting new workers.
    • Providing states with school choice options with of Education Title I portability funding for areas designated Economic Freedom Zones;
    • Providing a new $5,000 per child educational tax credit to parents or guardians;
    • Establish new Economic Freedom Zone Charitable Tax Credit for entities in eligible areas for -
    • Religious organizations or institutions;
    • Educational entities, including educational scholarships;
    • Homeless shelters and food banks.

o Establishing new Economic Freedom Zone Visa (at the State's discretion) -

  • Entrepreneurial investment: for qualified immigrants creating a new business and employing 5 U.S. citizens; and
  • Education performance needs: for qualified immigrants with a specialty degree or higher education qualification meeting Economic Freedom Zone needs.

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