Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community Program:

Survey of Round I Federal Enterprise Communities

GAO-06-734SP: Published: Sep 22, 2006. Publicly Released: Sep 22, 2006.

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William B. Shear
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This document presents the results of GAO's survey of federal Enterprise Communities (EC) that were designated in the first round of the Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community program in 1994. Round I ECs received $2.95 million in program grants and businesses in the ECs could use a program tax-exempt bond. The purpose of our survey was to collect data describing how Round I ECs implemented the program. Questionnaire items covered the types of governance structures ECs established, number of programs they implemented, usage of the program tax-exempt bond, and perceptions of factors influencing changes observed in poverty, unemployment, and economic growth in the ECs. We administered an e-mail survey to officials from the 60 Round I ECs--33 urban and 27 rural--that were still in operation as of June 2005 and did not receive additional designations under the Empowerment Zone or Renewal Community programs. We chose to exclude ECs that received subsequent designations, because we did not want their responses to be influenced by the benefits received under the additional designations. We created two versions of the questionnaire, one for urban ECs and another for rural ECs, to tailor items to urban or rural sites. For example, the urban version contained questions about the Enhanced EC designation, which was not asked of rural sites since the Enhanced EC designation was not applicable for rural areas.

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