Assemblywoman Woerner’s Bill to Help Create Jobs in Rural Communities Moves Forward

June 13, 2018

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake) announced that legislation she authored establishing the New York Rural and Agricultural Jobs Act (RAJA) is headed to the governor’s desk after passing the Assembly and Senate (A.4772-C). RAJA would help agribusinesses and small, family-owned businesses in rural communities grow.

“At roundtables and events across Saratoga and Washington counties, I have heard from local farmers and rural business owners that the three factors containing their abilities to grow are lack of access to land, capital, and trained workers,” Woerner said. “This legislation greatly increases farmers' and small businesses' abilities to access capital funding, addressing that barrier and growing rural economies across New York State."

As the chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Agricultural Production and Technology, a member of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, and a member of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, Woerner is an outspoken advocate for farmers, small businesses and rural communities. To address farmers' barriers to acquiring land, Woerner secured $400,000 in this year's state budget for the creation of the Farmland for a New Generation Program. This program helps new farmers access land, assist established farmers in finding successors, and establish a statewide resource center to help farmers protect their land through conservation easements. Additionally, Woerner secured a $500,000 grant for the purchase of cutting-edge agriculture technology equipment that is now shared among every high school agricultural education program in the 113th Assembly District. Learning how to operate and utilize this ag-tech equipment will help prepare a new generation of farmers and rural business owners in Saratoga and Washington counties.

Taken together, Woerner's passage of RAJA, establishment of the Farmland for a New Generation Program, and distribution of her agriculture technology grant to local high schools ensures that she has addressed all three of the barriers to starting and growing rural businesses that have been identified by her constituents.

RAJA would create funds raised from private investors. These funds can be accessed by small rural businesses that need capital to start or grow their operations. To encourage investment in rural businesses, the bill will also allow investors to claim a tax credit after the first two years of the program. The credit is available to investors with corporate income liability, insurance premium liability, or franchise tax liability. A tax credit worth 25% of the investment amount can be claimed in the third year of the program, and a tax credit worth 20% of the investment amount can be claimed in each of the fourth and fifth years of the program. Tax credit proceeds would be supplemented by private capital investments.