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2015 Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits Community Development Individual Award Recipients

Federal Legislator of the Year

U.S. Representative Pat Tiberi


Rep. Pat TiberiRep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, is the Federal Legislator of the Year. Rep. Tiberi has long been one of the congressional champions of the new markets tax credit (NMTC), sponsoring bipartisan legislation to provide for long-term reauthorization or permanence for the NMTC in several sessions of Congress. His most recent NMTC bill, H.R. 855, would make the NMTC permanent, increase the annual allocation authority to $4.8 billion, provide an annual inflation adjustment and allow the NMTC to offset alternative minimum tax (AMT) liability. Rep. Tiberi's leadership led to the enactment of several NMTC extensions in recent years and he is positioning the NMTC for permanence when Congress considers tax reform legislation.

Rep. Tiberi is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee that has jurisdiction over tax issues, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and trade agreements. He is the chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. Rep. Tiberi previously served as the chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures that has jurisdiction over federal tax policy. He continues to serve as a member of that subcommittee.

Congratulations to Rep. Tiberi for his monumental efforts to preserve the NMTC program.

"Rep. Tiberi has long been one of the best congressional champions of the new markets tax credit," said Peter Lawrence, the director of public policy and governmental relations at Novogradac & Company LLP. "The New Markets Tax Credit program is one of the most effective community development tools ever established–largely because of the vision, innovation and dedication that leaders, such as Pat Tiberi, have demonstrated to transform communities across the country."

State Legislator of the Year

Illinois State Senator James Clayborne

James ClayborneIllinois state Sen. James Clayborne is the State Legislator of the Year. Since his appointment to the Illinois Senate in 1995, Sen. Clayborne, D-Belleville, Ill., has worked tirelessly to promote growth opportunities for his district. Sen. Clayborne, who serves as the second-highest-ranking member of the state Senate, achieved notable success in seeking innovative ways to promote Illinois as a place to do business, including establishing a new state incentive for investment entities that have been approved for the federal New Markets Tax Credit program. The Illinois New Markets Development program, which was created by Sen. Clayborne's legislation, became law in 2008 and was one of the first state-level New Markets Tax Credit programs in the country.

Sen. Clayborne consistently backs business-orientated economic development initiatives such as the NMTC to help support small and developing businesses in low-income and underserved areas. He ushered through a New Markets Tax Credit program extension in both 2010 and 2012, leading to the award of $125 million and $250 million, respectively, in two rounds in 2014 and 2015. The senator's extension efforts have led to four rounds, totaling $500 million for Illinois' low-income communities.

Congratulations to state Sen. Clayborne for his steadfast commitment to providing economic opportunity for low-income communities.

"Sen. Clayborne's support of business-oriented economic development programs stems, in part, from the reality of representing an area still dogged by economic programs and his desire to create opportunities," said Jeff Craver, a principal at Advantage Capital Partners. "Many of these small businesses would otherwise be unable to qualify for development or expansion loans from large lending institutions because they lack credit history or necessary collateral." 

Public Executive of the Year

Tracey Nichols

Director of Economic Development
Cleveland, Ohio

Tracey NicholsTracey Nichols, director of economic development for the city of Cleveland, is the Public Executive of the Year. Since joining the city in 2008, Director Nichols has been a champion at attracting public and private partnerships to invest in Cleveland, including leading her team to complete more than 560 projects. They created more than 11,800 new jobs and retained more than 8,000 jobs. Her efforts have resulted in $146.8 million in new grants or pass-through loan funding.

Nichols has also been a staunch supporter of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program. Her ability to unite various parties, including the state and local government, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), developers, tenants and lenders has led to the completion of more than 10 NMTC developments, which represents more than $150 million in qualified equity investments (QEIs) and nearly $500 million in total development costs. These developments include the Green City Growers Cooperative Inc., a 3.25-acre hydroponic greenhouse; the MidTown Tech Center Project, a 120,000-square-foot space that provides offices for growing biomedical and technology companies; and Uptown Phases 1 and 2, which redeveloped aging residential and commercial buildings. The results of Nichols' leadership is seen and felt throughout communities of Cleveland.

Congratulations to Director Nichols for her inspiring leadership in transforming neighborhoods in Ohio.

"Director Nichols' proactive and solution-based approach is often the difference between a project happening or not," said Kevin Brokaw, General Counsel, Geis Companies "In the difficult and complex world of downtown development and public-private partnerships, we encounter many political, social and financial obstacles to projects that we know will improve our community and stimulate economic opportunities. Over the past five years, I have seen firsthand the impact of Director Nichols' positive energy as it flows through her staff and even our other public partners. She has a unique ability to effectively allocate limited public resources to encourage matching funds to a wide variety of projects. Often leading the charge for catalytic projects, we are fortunate as a city to have Director Nichols. Her track record is unquestioned and the results have been noted on a national level."

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