OUACHITA PARISH RECEIVES U.S. HUD URBAN RENEWAL COMMUNITY DESIGNATION:

Ouachita Parish was notified at the end of January that they have been designated one of 40 Renewal Communities nationwide. These renewal communities share in approximately $17 Billion worth of incentives to businesses located inside the perimeters of the Renewal Communities and who employ individuals living within the boundaries. HUD, as part of the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 authorized the establishment of 40 renewal communities across the country. The State of Louisiana received 4 of the 40, with Ouachita Parish receiving one of 12 Urban Renewal Communities nationwide.

To get more detail on the Renewal Community Benefits and the criteria to receive those benefits, please click here.

Businesses meeting certain criteria which are located inside the renewal communities receive tremendous business incentives in the form of tax credits and accelerated business deductions/write-offs. What follows below is a summary of the benefits received:
  • Wage Credit: Up to $1,500 - or 15 percent of an employee's salary up to $10,000 - for each employee who lives and works in the renewal community.
  • *Work Opportunity Credit: Up to $2,400 for employees hired from groups that have high unemployment rates or other special employment needs, including youth ages 18 to 24 who live in the renewal community. Other qualified groups include veterans, ex-felons, food stamp recipients, vocational rehabilitation referrals and summer youth.
  • *Welfare to Work Credit: Up to $3,500 for the first year and $5000 for the second year for each new hire of someone on long-term family assistance.
  • Increased Section 179 Deduction: Allows businesses to take a deduction of up to $35,000 on equipment purchases. That lets businesses deduct all or part of the equipment cost the year it is purchased instead of deducting the expense over time.
  • Commercial Revitalization Deduction: Allows businesses that construct or rehabilitate commercial property to deduct a portion of the costs over a shorter period of time than permitted under standard depreciation rules.
  • *Environmental Clean-up Cost Deduction: Allows businesses looking for land to deduct clean-up costs of hazardous substances in qualified areas.
  • *Qualified Zone Academy Bonds: State OR local governments can issue bonds at no interest to them to finance certain public school programs IN SCHOOLS that have at least 35 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch program. Private businesses must contribute money, equipment or services equal to 10 percent of the bond proceeds. The federal government pays the interest in the form of tax credits.
  • Zero Percent Capital Gains Rate: A business that holds an asset for at least five years does not have to pay taxes on the profit of its sale.
  • **New Markets Tax Credit: Investors in qualified projects can obtain a tax credit of 5 to 6 percent of the amount invested for each of the years the investment is held, for up to seven years of the credit period.
  • *Low-income Housing Credit: Ten-year credit for owners of newly constructed or renovated rental housing who set aside a number of units for low-income residents. The State must allocate a portion of its annual cap.
* Also available outside Renewal Communities
** Available in a limited capacity outside Renewal Communities

NOTE: BUSINESSES MUST CONSULT WITH THEIR ACCOUNTANT AND/OR TAX ADVISOR TO DETERMINE THE EXTENT TO WHICH THEY MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR INCENTIVES ASSOCIATED WITH RENEWAL COMMUNITIES.

The Ouachita Parish Economic Development Corporation has been designated as the Co-Ordinating and Responsible Authority for the Ouachita Parish Urban Renewal Community. We will be attending training on the implementation of the renewal community plan May 20 - 22nd in Washington.

Shown below are two links which provide businesses information on the IRS guidelines and HUD's guidelines for taking advantage of the incentives associated with the Renewal Communities:

The link to the Tax Incentive Guide is http://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/economicdevelopment/library/taxguide2003.pdf. Be sure to order free copies of this by calling 800-998-9999. Also, please print the IRS publication 954 from last year http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p954.pdf, which details tax benefits available to the RCs.

For more information on the Renewal Communities in Louisiana, please check out the following website: http://www.renewallouisiana.com/

OEDC Labor Study shows area to grow steady, has excess college grads -vs- jobs:

Ouachita Economic Development Corporation sponsored a labor market study which was conducted by two University of Louisiana-Monroe professors, Dr. Jerry Wall and Dr. Bruce Walker to determine Ouachita Parish's ability to support new industry being recruited into the parish. The study was concluded in July of this year and showed that Ouachita Parish was in excellent shape to support significant growth in our labor market through 2018. The study also showed that Ouachita Parish, as well as Louisiana as a whole has a very "sticky" workforce; e.g., our citizens like to stay in Louisiana. Second only to Pennsylvania, Ouachita Parish and Louisiana have a workforce that is stable, stays-put, and has some of the lowest rates of absenteeism and turn-over in the nation. These statistical conclusions were confirmed by interviews with numerous human resource managers of national and world-wide companies that have major locations in Ouachita Parish, such as State Farm Insurance, Chase Manhattan Mortgage, and Riverwood International. The study also concluded that North-East Louisiana and Ouachita Parish are in a unique position of generating more college graduates in the area than we can currently provide jobs for. Each year, the three major universities within 35 miles of here produce approximately 23% more college graduates than we can provide college-graduate level jobs for. The mission of the Ouachita Economic Development Corp. is to bring primary jobs into our parish to stop this out-migration of our best and most talented individuals.