Treasury awards tax credits to BR, N.O. funds

The Treasury Department has awarded Stonehenge Community Development, of Baton Rouge, $40 million in New Markets Tax Credits and three New Orleans funds $170 million.

In New Orleans, Advantage Capital Community Development Fund got $75 million; First NBC Community Development Fund $50 million; and Whitney New Markets Fund $45 million.

For the second year in a row, the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority did not get any funds from the program, which allows local entities
to allocate the tax credits
to help fund development projects in low-income areas
or target them for employment.

The tax credits are sold by the qualifying entities to individual and corporate taxpayers to offset federal taxes they owe.

The final value of the credits to the buyer is less than the original amount allocated.

The program has been criticized nationally for funding projects that do not resemble the kinds of developments its creators had in mind, such as luxury hotels in central business districts.

Supporters counter that the program has specific guidelines that ensure developments benefit poorer neighborhoods through targeted employment and other measures.

The Baton Rouge projects funded through the redevelopment authority using new markets tax credits include YMCAs in north Baton Rouge and Zachary, the Hampton Inn & Suites downtown, senior housing apartments in north Baton Rouge, a Honeywell plant north of downtown and The Emerge Center for Communication, Behavior & Development in southeast Baton Rouge.

Stonehenge Capital, which runs the fund that got the award Wednesday, could not be reached for comment, nor could the redevelopment authority.