Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) formally introduced a measure on Wednesday to empower impoverished cities by giving them and their residents a break from the onerous federal tax and regulatory burdens which keep them from prosperity in tough economic times.
The Economic Freedom Zones Act of 2013 would lower personal and corporate income tax rates in cities, counties or zip codes that meets certain criteria, such as those that have either filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy and an unemployment rate of 1.5 times the national average. The measure would also provide federal regulatory relief, including exemptions from onerous EPA rules that result in the loss of federal highway and transit funds and Davis-Bacon prevailing wage work requirements.
“In order to change our course, we must reverse the trend toward more Big Government by ending the corporate welfare and crony capitalism that limits choice and stifles competition,” said Paul in a statement. “We must encourage policies that will lift up the individual, allow for the creation of new jobs, improve the school system and get these communities back to work.”
“The answer to poverty and unemployment is not another government bailout; it is simply leaving more money in the hands of those who earned it. The Economic Freedom Zones Act of 2013 will do just that,” he added.
Paul outlined the principles of the legislation earlier this month in a speech at the Detroit Economic Club; in the heart of arguably the most financially troubled city in the country. He said that the economic freedom zones would mean $1.3 billion of economic stimulus for Detroit in the next 10 years, none of which would come through government bailouts.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has co-sponsored the legislation and commended Paul “for his work to help distressed areas around the nation, including those in Kentucky.” Paul has noted that that the legislation would apply to 20 counties in east Kentucky that are currently in a depression.