Mark Warner

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner will be in Martinsville on Tuesday.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner is scheduled to speak to business leaders on Tuesday morning at the New College Institute in Martinsville.

An advisory from Warner’s office says Warner “will speak to leaders from local businesses and the Martinsville-Henry Chamber of Commerce. This will be an opportunity for Sen. Warner to hear from local employers and provide an update on his work in Congress to encourage revitalization and expand economic opportunity. Sen. Warner recently introduced bipartisan legislation to encourage greater investment in rural and underserved areas across Virginia.”

The stop will be part of a week-long trip across Virginia by Warner, including stops in Lynchburg, Chatham and Danville on Monday and Roanoke on Tuesday.

Lisa Watkins, president of the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, provided an email to some business leaders and elected officials.

“Senator Warner is hosting a roundtable discussion with business leaders from Martinsville and Henry County to discuss policy issues affecting the Southside business community," she said.

She said she understands that Warner “will be discussing issues relevant to businesses such as tariffs, taxes, labor laws, etc.”

Henry County Deputy Administrator Dale Wagoner wrote in an email Thursday that, as of then, he didn’t know who or to what level the county will participate in the discussion.

“Senator Warner and the former Congressman Robert Hurt were very helpful in securing the necessary permits for the development of Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre,” Wagoner wrote.

“I am sure our message to Senator Warner would mirror the county’s priorities of economic development, education, and emergency services.”

According to Warner’s website, he recently joined Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) and Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) in introducing the Rural Jobs Act, which would build on success of the New Markets Tax Credit by increasing private investment to rural areas.

The NMTC program now provides a modest tax incentive to private investors to invest in low-income communities. Since NMTC was created, 70 businesses and economic revitalization projects in Virginia already have received financing, with a total of nearly $736 million in NMTC allocations going toward $1.4 billion n project investments. That program created 14,559 jobs across Virginia between 2003 and 2015.

The Rural Jobs Act would designate $500 million in NMTC investments for “Rural Job Zones” – low-income communities that have fewer than 50,000 inhabitants and are not adjacent to an urban area. Under this definition, Rural Job Zones would be established in 342 of the 435 congressional districts in the United States.

Under this legislation, Virginia would have more qualified census tracts than most other states.

The bill also would require that at least 25% of this new investment activity be targeted to high-migration counties and persistent poverty counties.

Paul Collins is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him at 276-638-8801, ext. 236.

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