Congressmen Cohen and Buck Introduce Bipartisan Supermarket Tax Credit for Underserved Areas Act

July 26, 2021
Press Release
Creating incentives to address food deserts

WASHINGTON – Congressmen Steve Cohen (TN-09) and Ken Buck (CO-04) today introduced the Supermarket Tax Credit for Underserved Areas Act. The measure would increase the rehabilitation tax credit for establishing supermarkets in urban and rural food deserts and increase the work opportunity tax credit for these supermarkets to hire local residents, veterans, disadvantaged youth and other workers with barriers to employment. The bill would also create a tax credit for sales of fresh fruit and vegetables. The bill has the support of food justice and anti-hunger organizations.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“For more than 20 million Americans living in underserved communities such as parts of my district in Memphis, living in a food desert without access to affordable fresh food and vegetables is their unhealthy reality. A lack of healthy food options can contribute to a decline in health and well-being and may contribute to diet-related illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. The Supermarket Tax Credit for Underserved Areas Act addresses this problem with a comprehensive set of credits to incentivize grocery stores to establish themselves in underserved urban and rural areas, hire local residents and workers with barriers to employment, and sell affordable fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Congressman Buck made the following statement:

“Access to fresh and affordable food is fundamental to maintaining a heathy lifestyle, but tragically, over 20 million Americans currently live in a food desert. In fact, many communities throughout Colorado and the fourth congressional district are food deserts. A few months ago, I learned that the only grocery store in Seibert, Colorado, had closed – leaving many residents without access to fresh food. Our bipartisan bill, the Supermarket Tax Credit for Underserved Areas Act, offers incentives to open and maintain grocery stores in communities like Seibert to ensure a stable supply of healthy food.”

Statements from supporters:

Eric Mitchell, Executive Director of the Alliance to End Hunger, said, “Food deserts have been a persistent barrier to health and prosperity in both rural and urban communities across the country. Lack of access to healthy food contributes to poor health, which feeds into a continuing cycle of poverty and inequity that disproportionately impacts already disadvantaged populations. Increasing incentives for supermarkets to operate in underrepresented communities is an important step to solving hunger and malnutrition in the United States. The Alliance to End Hunger thanks Congressmen Buck and Cohen for their leadership on this important issue.”

Heather Valentine, Director of Government Relations of Bread for the World, said, “Currently, residents of underserved communities must travel long distances for nutritious food. Bread for the World is excited to see bipartisan legislation to address food deserts and improve access to healthy food in communities across America.”

Robert Yeakel, Director of Government Relations for the National Grocers Association, said, “Many Americans have to travel too far to access healthy foods and purchase their groceries. The Supermarket Tax Credit for Underserved Areas Act will help independent grocers expand into food deserts and provide greater, fresher food options and jobs to communities throughout the country.”