WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Missouri U.S. Representative Jason Smith and other U.S. Representatives introduced the “Rural Jobs Act” in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Congressman Smith says this act will build on the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) and bring hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment to some of the poorest rural communities in America.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury says NMTC encourages community development and economic growth through tax credits that attract private investment to distressed communities.

Congressman Smith says NMTC projects prompted over $42 billion in private investment and created over 1 million jobs since 2000, but less than one in four of the jobs were in rural communities.

“The Rural Jobs Act will allow for new economic opportunities in the areas of our country that need it the most,” Congressman Smith said. “By building on the success of the New Markets program, the Rural Jobs Act will bring investment to rural communities with persistent poverty and high migration. It is too often that rural communities are overlooked by Washington. This legislation is a targeted approach that will encourage investment in rural America.”

Congressman Smith says this Act would help close the job creation gap by giving $500 million investments for “Rural Job Zones,” which are low-income areas, not next to an urban area, with less than 50,000 residents. Congressman Smith says this new definition would place Rural Job Zones in 342 out of the 435 congressional districts across the country.

Congressman Smith says this bill would require that at least 25 percent of the new investment activity go towards persistent poverty and high migration counties. He says there are around 400 of these counties in the United States, and 85 percent are in non-metro or rural areas.

Read the full text of the Rural Jobs Act here.