Rep. Capuano Introduces Empowerment Zone Flexibility Legislation

July 27, 2001 -- Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) has filed HR 2637: the Round II Empowerment Zone/Enterprise (EZ/EC) Community Flexibility Act of 2001.

"This bipartisan legislation, that I co-sponsored with Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), makes a number of small changes to the EZ/EC program that will provide participating communities with greater flexibility in administering their economic development plans," stated Rep. Capuano.

The bill authorizes $100 million in appropriations for each of the fifteen urban Empowerment Zones, $40 million for each of the five rural Empowerment Zones, and $3 million for each of the twenty rural Enterprise Communities. The legislation also ensures that Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities applying for one of the new Renewal Community designations will continue to receive the EZ/EC funding they were promised in 1999. Finally, the bill allows these communities to use their funding as the local match for receiving grants from other federal programs. This will help EZ/EC communities leverage additional resources to undertake economic development initiatives and provide job training and other vital social services.

"Mr. LoBiondo and I have worked hard over the last several years to secure funding for the communities across the nation that were designated as Round II Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities. We both know first hand the successes of the EZ/EC program, and we will continue to work together in a bipartisan manner to ensure that these communities are allocated the resources they need to bring economic opportunity to all Americans," stated Rep. Capuano.

Rep. Capuano and Rep. LoBiondo co-chair the bipartisan Empowered Communities Caucus. The following members of the Caucus joined them in cosponsoring this legislation: Rep. John Baldacci (D-ME), Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA), Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. (R-TN), Rep. James C. Greenwood (R-PA), Rep. John Spratt (D-SC), Rep. Floyd Spence (R-SC), and Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX).