Beginning in 1993 and in subsequent legislation in 1997, 1999, and 2000, Congress established the Empowerment Zone (EZ), Enterprise Community (EC), and Renewal Community (RC) programs to reduce unemployment and generate economic growth in selected Census tracts. Urban and rural communities designated as EZs, ECs, or RCs received grants, tax incentives, or a combination of both to stimulate community development and business activity. The EZ, EC, and RC programs expired on December 31, 2009, though legislation has been introduced to extend the programs. The Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-554) mandated that GAO report to Congress by January 31, 2004; 2007; and 2010 on the EZ, EC, and RC programs and their effect on poverty, unemployment, and economic growth in designated program areas. We issued the first two mandated reports in 2004 and 2006. The purpose of this report is to make publicly available information we provided in a briefing to your staffs on January 29, 2010.
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