House Finance Committee Chairman Marvin L. Abney (D-Dist. 73, Newport, Middletown) was honored by the Rural Jobs Coalition as the organization’s Legislator of the Year during a NCLS conference held in Nashville last month.

The group honored Chairman Abney for his leadership in passing Economic Opportunity Zone legislation in Rhode Island.

“It was an incredible honor to be recognized with this award.  I believe economic opportunity zones have the ability to transform Rhode Island in positive and sustainable ways and I am eager for the communities of our state to take advantage of this program to ensure future success,” said Representative Abney.

The Rural Jobs Coalition’s Legislator of the Year award was born as a way to celebrate legislators who demonstrate tremendous vision for and support of their communities and the local small businesses located in the many areas of the country that are under served by traditional sources of investment capital.

Representative Abney was selected due his strong leadership in helping to grow small businesses and create new jobs in Rhode Island by providing greater economic opportunity and the ability to keep those who want to reside, work and raise a family in Rhode Island within the state. 

The Opportunity Zones program is a new economic development tool for designated Rhode Island communities to attract private equity investment in businesses and real estate. This federal program provides a tax incentive for private investors to direct capital gains into equity investments in qualified projects within designated Opportunity Zones. The incentive is designed to encourage long-term investment – with certain tax benefits kicking in only after maintaining the investment for at least ten years.

Rhode Island Opportunity Zones are located in twenty-five census tracts spread across the following fifteen municipalities: Bristol, Central Falls, Cranston, Cumberland, East Providence, Narragansett, Newport, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, South Kingstown, Warren, West Warwick, Westerly, and Woonsocket. Opportunity Zones in Rhode Island have the potential to attract private investment for business expansion, startup creation, and real estate development; promote synergy with state and local efforts; and support the needs of local communities.

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