U.S. Treasury awards $3.5 billion, New Markets Tax Credit allocations

Back in February, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced the awarding of $3.5 billion in allocations of New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC). For those of you that are not familiar with NMTC, it is a program run by the Treasury Department that allocated tax credits to community development entities (CDE). Those CDEs then go out and attract investors to their fund and in-turn, the investor gets a tax credit allocation of 39% on the total investment over 7 years.

According to the CDFI Fund, NMTC awards have historically generated $8 of private investment for every dollar invested by the federal government. Since 2001, NMTCs have generated more than $44.4 billion in investments in low-income communities and businesses, resulting in the creation or retention of more than 750,000 jobs, and the construction or rehabilitation of more than 190 million square feet of commercial real estate.

This year’s NMTC allocations were made to 73 community development entities in 29 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam. Read the list of entities known as Community Development Entities (CDEs) in the NMTC award book [PDF 5.2 MB]

I am working on a new project called Urban Deal Flow that is focused on NMTC and a new program that was created at the end of 2017 via the tax bill call Opportunity Zones (OZones). When I first learned about OZones in February and researched the program in more detail, I correctly guessed that the OZones would be managed by the CDFI Fund given that both programs had similar characteristics and objectives. I will be posted here about the project over the next few weeks. In the meantime, you can sign up for early access to Urban Deal Flow.

Public Strategy: 2nd Amendment Will Never be Abolished in the US

Let me start by stating that I am a gun-owner and I believe in the right to bear arms. As a management consultant and digital technologist, I have developed a reputation for solving complex problems for public and private organizations. One of first things I look to do before diving into problem-solving mode is to identify and remove any obstacles that may block progress to finding a solution. I see this topic as an obstacle to solving real problems in this country and why I felt the need to write on this subject.

Every election cycle, we frequently hear conservative politicians, interest groups, and the media repeat the same line in every election cycle, liberal politicians will abolish the 2nd Amendment and only conservative politicians will protect the 2nd Amendment. This simplistic line is the one of the most predatory and insidious disinformation campaigns to ever be used on the public and is never combated effectively or explained to the uninformed citizen and voter. My goal with this post is twofold: 1) to explain how the U.S. Constitution is amended; and 2) to discuss why the 2nd Amendment will never be abolished in the U.S. As you will see, the U.S. President CANNOT:

  1. Abolish amendments via executive order
  2. Propose an amendment
  3. Vote on amendments.

The U.S. Constitution was created by the Founders to be extremely difficult to amend and change by future generations. Article 5 outlines the 2-step process to amend the Constitution: proposal and ratification.

Proposing an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The first option to amend the Constitution is that U.S. Congress (House of Representatives and Senate) can propose an amendment with a two-thirds majority vote. This is how all existing amendments have been proposed. Given the current politics in 2016, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that this would happen. The GOP has a majority in the House and Senate, so it is extremely unlikely that the Republican-run Congress will propose and amendment to abolish the 2nd Amendment.

public strategy congress

The second option to amend the Constitution is that two-thirds of the states can call on Congress to hold a Constitutional Convention. With 44% of U.S. states having gun ownership rates of between 43% and 63%, this route to propose the abolishment of the 2nd Amendment is also extremely unlikely.

Throw in the fact that the NRA has given close to $22.5 million to politicians since 1990 and you can only come to the conclusion that abolishing the 2nd Amendment will never happen (at least in our life times). However, let’s play devil’s advocate and assume that by some stroke of chance, either Congress or the States manage to propose the amendment, the next step is Ratification.

Ratifying an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Once an amendment is ready to be ratified, how it was proposed (Congress or the States) doesn’t really matter; ratification can only be done through the States via one of two options: 1) three-fourths of states must approve the amendment via their state legislatures; OR 2) three-fourths of states must approve the amendment via ratifying convention.

Again, we are back to the reality mentioned above that 44% of U.S. states have gun ownership rates of between 43% and 63%, so there an almost zero chance that any amendment that comes close to abolishing the 2nd Amendment would ever be ratified by three-fourths of U.S. States. Not to mention that the 18th Amendment puts a time limit of seven years for states to ratify an amendment.

As you can see, the processes put in place by the Founders ensure the Constitution cannot be changed by the whims of a simple majority or current events. Not even a President has the power to take away your right to bear arms or any other rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

So the next time you hear a politician or talking head making claims about an opponent taking away your guns, just know that:

  1. They are LYING to you;
  2. They have NO CLUE what they are talking about;
  3. They want your VOTE; or
  4. They want your MONEY.

In closing just remember, no matter who is elected President, YOUR RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS WILL ALWAYS BE SAFE IN THE U.S.A.!

Bio:

Daniel is a digital consultant specializing in IT advisory on technology strategy, investment, and implementation. He helps companies solve complex and strategic problems across multiple industries and domains. His drive to find solutions for clients and attain personal growth for himself are what keeps him at the forefront of innovation and helps him guide teams and organizations to cultivate amazing products and services. Given his thought leadership, engineering experience, innate ability to build relationships, and cultural interests, it’s not surprising that Daniel has been described as having “the mind of an engineer and the soul of an artist.”

Currently, Daniel oversees the Toyota Motors North America account for Beyondsoft Consulting. As Account Director, he identifies opportunities for new products, investments, and acquisitions in cloud, digital marketing, big data, and analytics. As a thought leader, he provides executives with strategy recommendations and effective solutions to core technology problems.