(Washington, D.C.) – Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer today said congressional reauthorization of EB-5 “regional centers” needs to pass before the investment program expires on Sept. 30, and that the reauthorization should include measures to improve the program’s transparency and accountability along the lines of reforms outlined in an August 12 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office:
“The Real Estate Roundtable strongly supports the EB-5 program. It provides unique gap financing for large and small projects across the nation and creates American jobs at no cost to taxpayers. Congress should extend EB-5 regional centers before they expire on September 30, 2015, and at the same time make needed reforms to improve the integrity, administration and transparency of the program.
"The August 12 Government Accountability Office report provides a blueprint to rally Congress into action after Labor Day. The report outlines reforms to improve the decades-old EB-5 program that will continue to meet the overriding objectives of job creation and economic growth. This GAO report responds to bipartisan congressional requests to review and comment on the program. The report focuses on measures to safeguard national security, deter evolving risks of investor fraud, and clarify accepted government methodologies to show job creation. Its findings are commendable and pending bipartisan bills presently address these identified concerns. This report can now be the catalyst that points the way toward reform and multi-year reauthorization by Congress.
"An estimated 136,000 American jobs – and nearly $7 billion in foreign investment dollars – could be forfeited if Congress fails to act. Since the early 1990s, these regional centers have directed capital to help finance development projects and have always been reauthorized by wide bipartisan margins. From 2005-2013, EB-5 brought in a minimum of $5.2 billion in private investment to the U.S. – with a minimum of $1.6 billion in 2013 alone.
“Smart government policies are critical to enable America to compete in the global marketplace to attract foreign investment dollars – and put Americans to work – in rebuilding infrastructure, modernizing buildings, and developing resilient 21st century communities where we live, work, and play. Businesses, local economic development agencies, and other key stakeholders should not wait. They should now urge their Senators and Representatives to act swiftly