(Missoula Current) A Missoula-based community lender has placed its support behind the New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act of 2023, co-sponsored by Sen. Steve Daines.

As proposed, the measure would make the New Markets Tax Credit a permanent part of the tax code. If the bill passes, MoFi, which makes loans throughout the state, believes it would make funding available for Montana businesses and community programs.

The tax credits are currently set to expire in 2025.

“For more than a decade, the New Markets Tax Credit has played a vital role funding projects across Montana that stimulate economic growth and job creation, and that help some of the state’s most vulnerable people,” said Dave Glaser, president of MoFi.

Glaser added that making the program permanent would “provide a predictable source of capital that will continue to make a difference in local communities across the state.”

Since the New Markets Tax Credit program was established in 2000, MoFi said it has benefited low-income and rural areas in Montana. It also has brought more than $430 million into local economies and created more than 5,100 jobs for Montanans, the organization said.

Daines is backing legislation that would make the program permanent.

“It’s time we make a permanent commitment to helping our Montana communities thrive and economies grow by making the New Markets Tax Credit permanent,” Daines said. “The New Markets Tax Credit is a win-win-win – it has been an invaluable tool for encouraging investment into our communities, creating good-paying jobs in Montana and spurring growth in local economies across the nation.”

Through the program, MoFi works with community leaders and local businesses to identify projects that would have the greatest community impact while also benefiting from the tax credit.

The first New Market Tax Credit project in the state was the Garlington, Lohn & Robinson building in downtown Missoula, which was completed in 2009. Since then, the tax credit has helped fund more than 30 projects in nearly a dozen Montana communities.

Other investments include the Great Falls Rescue Mission, the Independent Record newspaper building in Helena, and Ace Hardware in Butte.

MoFi said communities, businesses and nonprofits that have projects of at least $5 million in value with a gap in financing are encouraged to call 844-728-9234 or visit mofi.org to see if they qualify.