US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sounded notes of optimism during a stop in Boston last Wednesday, calling the countryâ€™s recovery underway.
â€œThe national economy is showing some initial signs of stability, confidence has improved, the financial system is starting to heal, credit is starting to ease a bit,â€ Geithner said during a press conference rolling out $1.5 billion in tax credits for nationwide organizations investing in â€œstruggling neighborhoods.â€
Geithner added, â€œThis is just the beginning, however. We have a long way to go.â€
A Dudley Street non-profit, housed in a â€œgreenâ€ building built with tax credits from the same â€œnew marketsâ€ tapped Wednesday, provided the setting for Geithnerâ€™s announcement.
Thirty-two groups around the country, including a Rockland-based community development corporation in line for $50 million, have been designated to receive funds in connection with investments in renewable energy projects, charter schools, health care facilities, manufacturing companies and retail centers. Qualifiers receive credits against federal income taxes in exchange for qualified equity investments in â€œcommunity development entities.â€
Geithner said three awardees were â€œconsidering projects in Massachusetts.â€
After a rocky nomination and a policy speech in February that many analysts said actually worsened financial markets, Geithner has seemingly picked up steam, and drew plaudits Wednesday from U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, and Gov. Deval Patrick.
Praising President Barack Obamaâ€™s recovery efforts, Frank said, â€œIt is now clear that the early naysayers not only were too early, they were wrong.â€
Patrick called Geithner â€œa perfect shepherd for this agenda.â€
Facing a bank of cameras in a crowded conference room at Project HOPE, U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano held up the tax credits as examples of good government.
â€œYour tax dollars are going to work [in] your neighborhoods to improve peopleâ€™s lives,â€ Capuano said. â€œI donâ€™t know what else weâ€™re supposed to be doing.â€
Geithner and Patrick left the press conference without taking questions, heading to the State House for lunch in Patrickâ€™s office.
The Project HOPE building, which houses adult education, job placement, and career development services, was built in part with $4.8 million in â€œnew markets tax creditâ€ financing, according to Geithnerâ€™s office.