Haslam Signs Rural Economic Opportunity Act

Governor Bill Haslam recently signed a bill to help “level” the playing field between rural and urban areas. The bill was passed unanimously by the Tennessee House and Senate in March. 
 
Comprised of two parts, the bill will support jobs and economic development in Tennessee’s rural and distressed areas. The bill created a new program called ‘Propelling Rural Economic Progress’ and will allocate funds to help rural counties build sites and infrastructure, making their communities more attractive to prospective companies. The new bill also restructures the county tier system making it easier for businesses in rural counties to qualify for job tax credits and expand and hire new workers.
 
The Act will provide $10 million in competitive grants to rural areas in Tennessee. These areas are often at a disadvantage in economic development simply because those communities cannot provide all the amenities as their urban counterparts. Details on the competitive grant process will be released in the coming weeks.