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2013 Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits Community Development Individual Award Recipients

Federal Legislator of the Year

Senator Roy Blunt



Congratulations to the Federal Legislator of the Year: Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. During his tenure, Sen. Blunt has been a steadfast supporter of economic opportunity and community development in distressed neighborhoods. In June 2013, Sen. Blunt, along with Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., introduced the New Markets Tax Credit Act of 2013. The bipartisan bill would permanently extend the federal NMTC program. In a statement about the bill’s introduction, Sen. Blunt said the bill would economic growth in communities nationwide:

“The New Markets Tax Credit Program has already had a positive impact in Missouri, leading to more than $2 billion in investments and thousands of jobs,” Sen. Blunt said. “I’m glad to support this bipartisan bill to make this tax credit permanent so that we can continue to encourage investment, growth, and job creation in low-income communities nationwide.”

According to Sen. Blunt, the NMTC has created nearly 24,000 jobs in Missouri between 2003 and 2010. More than 100 Missouri businesses have utilized the tax credit since it was created, and investments in developments have totaled $2.1 billion since 2003.

Congratulations again to Sen. Blunt for his monumental effort in preserving the NMTC program.


State Legislators of the Year

State Senator Jake Files

Ark. - District 8


Congratulations to the first winner of 2013 State Legislator of the Year: Arkansas Sen. Jake Files, who is being recognized for his tremendous advocacy for a state new markets tax credit program in 2013. Sen. File’s leadership was instrumental in passing and implementing H.B. 1832, the New Markets Jobs Act. The legislation is the largest-ever economic development and job initiative in Arkansas. As the chairman of the Senate Revenue and Tax Committee, Sen. Files gained a deep understanding of how the New Markets Tax Credit program promotes economic development and job creation, two topics that he has identified as his top priorities. He worked within the Senate to ensure that his colleagues knew the value of this important piece of legislation and to secure a place for the New Markets Jobs Act in the final tax and budget package passed by the legislature.

Sen. Files also continues to fight for pro-business policies and cosponsors important legislation that supports permanent job growth throughout Arkansas. His background as a real estate developer has taught him valuable lessons about business that help him legislate meaningful policy that encourages economic opportunity.

Since his reelection in 2012, Sen. Files currently also serves on the Transportation and Technology Committee, Joint Budget Committee and Legislative Audit.

Congratulations again to Sen. Files for his steadfast commitment to legislation that provides economic opportunity and sustains a high quality of life in low-income communities.


Walt Leger

Louisiana House Speaker Pro Tem


Congratulations to the second winner of the 2013 State Legislator of the Year: Louisiana House Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger. In 2013, Rep. Leger successfully championed H.B. 726 to create a state NMTC program. The Louisiana New Markets Job Act, which provides for $55 million of state NMTC allocation, is expected to increase access to capital for small businesses located in economically distressed areas of Louisiana. This expanded access to capital is expected to promote permanent job creation, which will in turn help develop more vibrant and diverse communities.

During his tenure, Rep. Leger has also served on the Appropriations Committee, the Criminal Justice Committee, the Education Committee, the Judiciary Committee, and the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. His focus has been on strategic spending and investments, making communities safer, smarter and more livable, and ensuring economic and educational opportunities for all the communities in Louisiana. In 2013, for his dedication in preserving small businesses across Louisiana, Leger was awarded the “Champion of Small Business Award” by the National Coalition for Capital.

Congratulations again to Louisiana House Speaker Walt Leger for reshaping the economic future of communities throughout Louisiana.


Public Executives of the Year

Kathy Gelston

Chief Financial Officer
Mississippi Development Authority


Congratulations to the first winner of the 2013 Public Executive of the Year: Kathy Gelston, chief financial officer of the Mississippi Development Authority. Since joining the Mississippi Development Authority in 2005, Ms. Gelston has been a steadfast supporter of the NMTC program. In 2007, her leadership was instrumental in passing the Mississippi Equity Investment Tax Credit, a state NMTC program.

Since the passing of the legislation, Ms. Gelston has used innovative methods to make the incentive more effective. During her tenure as the development authority’s CFO, the program’s vesting schedule has been shortened from seven years to two years, which has increased the amount of net incentives available to projects. In addition, the Mississippi Development Authority instituted a requirement for the tax credits to have a least a 50 percent matching allocation from the federal NMTC program. This requirement has built long lasting improvements for local and nonlocal allocatees that deploy their allocation in Mississippi.

These updates have transformed Mississippi from being an underserved NMTC market to one that has achieved parity with many of the larger states in terms of qualified equity investments funded. In addition, Mississippi-based CDEs have gone from receiving a combined total of $30 million in federal allocation authority issued in 2007 to $246 million in allocation authority from 2008 to 2012.

Congratulations again to Kathy Gelston for her inspiring leadership in transforming neighborhoods of Mississippi.


Robert Rubinstein 

Acting Executive Director
Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh


Congratulations to the second winner for the 2013 Public Executive of the Year: Robert Rubinstein, acting executive director for the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. Throughout his career, Mr. Rubinstein has promoted economic development and its critical role in developing and nurturing a healthy economic climate in Pittsburgh. During his tenure as the director of economic development, he has directed staff in the creation of Pittsburgh Urban Initiatives. Pittsburgh Urban Initiatives is the city’s first CDE and since its inception has received three NMTC awards totaling $90 million. The CDE is also credited with creating 71 permanent jobs, 131 construction jobs and $139 million in in-progress real estate development. Mr. Rubinstein has used the new markets tax credits as a financing tool to achieve continued success in economic development in Pittsburgh, including completely revitalizing the city’s riverfronts and building partnerships that advocate for Pittsburgh federally, regionally and locally.

During the past six years, Mr. Rubinstein has also assisted the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which has invested directly in 390 small businesses and neighborhood commercial real estate developments, creating more than 4,100 jobs and leveraging a total investment of $400 million in Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods.

Congratulations again to Robert Rubinstein for his achievements and his relentless advocacy in bringing economic opportunity to the city of Pittsburgh.

Return to Past Community Development Individual Achievement Awards

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