Around the State
Special to The Dallas Examiner | 6/29/2015, 12:58 a.m.
Special to The Dallas Examiner
In a recently released report, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund announced that it would be awarding $3.5 billion in the New Markets Tax Credit program to spur economic growth nationwide under its 2014 allocation. Among the 76 organizations listed, the Dallas Development Fund, the only organization being awarded from the state of Texas, will receive $45 million.
The New Markets Tax Credit Program, established by Congress in December 2000, permits individual and corporate taxpayers to receive a non-refundable tax credit against federal income taxes for making equity investments in vehicles known as Community Development Entities. Since the program’s inception, New Markets Tax Credit investments are estimated to have created nearly 600,000 new jobs and supported the construction of more than 160 million square feet of retail, manufacturing and office space.
“The Dallas Development Fund has worked diligently to give the people of Dallas the goods, services and jobs they deserve,” Congresswoman Johnson said. “I am glad to see that the U.S. Department of Treasury continues to recognize the great work they have accomplished. I look forward to seeing these efforts continue under the 2014 NMTC program allocation.”
Created in 2009 by the city of Dallas, the Dallas Development Fund is a non-profit organization that seeks to procure the benefits of New Markets Tax Credit investments for low-income Dallas communities. From 2009 to present, the DDF has received over $100 million in funds that have been committed to numerous projects throughout the Dallas area including: The NYLO Hotel, the Medical District Kroger Grocery Store and the Lancaster Urban Village.
House Bill 549 by state Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, was filed with the Texas secretary of State by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 17.
Effective Sept. 1, the bill will require the Texas Commission on Jail Standards to adopt rules that establish a minimum standard of two in-person, non-contact visitation periods per week in Texas county jails. County jails that have not already completely eliminated in-person visitation will not be allowed to do so. Around 13 counties have eliminated in-person visitations, Travis and Denton are among them. Existing or substantially planned jail facilities that cannot accommodate the new in-person visitation requirements of the bill without substantial costs to local taxpayers for renovating or rebuilding facilities will be exempted on a case-by-case basis, as determined by TCJS.
“This is a major victory for Texas families and, frankly, for human decency. When it comes to the importance of in-person visitation in our county jails, the Texas Legislature has spoken rather clearly,” Johnson said.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in our nation, and in Texas, for ages 10 to 24, only surpassed by “unintentional injuries.”
On Saturday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB2186, the Jason Flatt Act, into law. Texas is the 16th state to pass the act since 2007. The act works within a state’s requirements for in-service or certification training by adding youth suicide awareness and prevention as part of that state’s training for educators.
Clark Flatt, president of The Jason Foundation, said, “Our goal with The Jason Flatt Act is not to make teachers into counselors, but rather equip them with information, tools and resources to help better identify and assist at-risk youth for suicide. Bottom line, lives will be saved.”
The bill was sponsored in the House of Representative by Byron Cook and in the Senate and state Sen. Dr. Donna Campbell.
The Jason Flatt Act in Texas was passed in honor of Jonathan Childers, a 15-year-old student from Fairfield ISD who took his life almost two years ago. Texas is the 16th state to pass the act.