Wisconsinites have a “can-do” attitude.
Since 1848, we have used our “can-do” attitude to grow crops that feed our state, and our country. We have used our “can-do” attitude to establish and lead during America’s manufacturing revolution. And, we have used our “can-do” attitude — along with our appreciation of quality education — to provide opportunity to the future leaders of our nation.
But in small and rural communities, “can-do” is often easier said than done. The financial crisis shook the economic foundations of many communities and small businesses across western and central Wisconsin. For years many hardworking Wisconsinites in rural communities have seen the lack of investment in their communities and felt that the deck is stacked against them.
It’s time that we work to change that. It’s time that America Invests in Opportunity.
I’m proud to introduce the bi-partisan Investing in Opportunity Act of 2016 with my colleagues in the House and Senate: Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH). We know that millions of Americans live in communities facing the crisis of closing businesses, experience a lack of access to capital, and few entrepreneurship opportunities. The Investing in Opportunity Act of 2016 is a new approach to connecting struggling communities with the private investment they need to thrive.
This bipartisan legislation would help fund a new generation of entrepreneurs and enterprise in economically distressed areas of the country. It will remove barriers to investment through access to temporary capital gains deferral in exchange for reinvestment in distressed communities, encourages investors from across the nation to pool resources through newly-created “Opportunity Funds” — established specifically for making investments in distressed communities, and provides incentives for investors to make long-term commitments to these communities.
It is important to remember that distressed communities are not broken communities. Distressed communities are simply communities that could use the reminder that we all still have a “can-do” attitude. We need to work with the people of Adams to lower the poverty rate and increase the number of high school degrees. We need to partner with our neighbors in Readstown to establish the foundations for a successful business. And we need to work with families in Merrillan and Bagley to create jobs and increase access to affordable housing.
The most sustainable way to do this is through investing in the community, and by incentivizing new and exciting job growth in areas of our country that have faced economic challenges. This newfound economic innovation will encourage new businesses to plant roots in our communities, and our towns and cities will flourish.
I hope more of my colleagues will join us in doing everything we can do to help struggling communities across Wisconsin and the nation.