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Bill would help rural small business growth, job creation

State Rep. Richard Heath, R-Mayfield

FRANKFORT, Ky. — State Rep. Richard Heath, R-Mayfield, introduced HB 273, the Kentucky Rural Jobs Act to ensure small business growth, job creation and local economic development in some of the commonwealth’s hardest-hit rural and underdeveloped opportunity zone communities.

“Addressing rural development in Kentucky is critical to continuing our state’s economic momentum,” said Heath. “Kentucky is a great state full of promise and potential, but we also face pressing challenges. Small businesses, particularly those in rural and distressed communities, are finding it difficult to secure the capital they need to expand and create new jobs for local residents. The Kentucky Rural Jobs Act, by facilitating access to capital for these businesses, encourages job creation, business expansion and economic development where it is needed most. This program is a fair and sustainable way to ensure economic opportunity for people and communities across Kentucky.”

The Kentucky Rural Jobs Act would promote the retention and expansion of existing jobs, stimulate the creation of additional, high-wage jobs through business growth, and attract new businesses and industry to the state — thereby diversifiying and growing the state’s economy.

“Access to quality jobs is essential to the viability of our rural communities,” said Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney. “We believe the Kentucky Rural Jobs Act has the potential to incentivize investment to create much needed economic development in rural Kentucky.”

Through the program, rural and opportunity zone growth funds would help businesses make improvements or investments needed to expand, grow high paying jobs and strengthen their local communities in rural counties and those that have experienced continual underemployment.

In Cynthiana, Ky., truck manufacturer E-Z Pack, part of Commercial Speciality Truck Holdings (CSTH), utilized a similar tax-incentivized program to help the company secure the capital it needed to turn around the struggling business. The company now employs more than 250.

“Programs like the Kentucky Rural Jobs Act are greatly important to small town USA,” said Frank Busicchia, CEO of CSTH. “Places like Cynthiana, Kentucky and other rural areas of the state find it hard to build companies and grow jobs without this type of support.”

The bill prioritizes the creation and retention of jobs in important growth industries and rural and underdeveloped opportunity zone communities, driving Kentucky’s economic growth forward and ensuring opportunity for every Kentuckian.

The Kentucky Rural Jobs Act also contains important best practices and safeguards to protect the state and its taxpayers, including an independent economic impact analysis that demonstrates a positive return on investment for the state, along with job creation requirements.

For a summary of the bill, click here.