- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 8, 2014

President Obama will announce the first “Promise Zones” across the country Thursday to improve economic opportunity by partnering distressed local communities and businesses, a White House official said Wednesday.

The official said Mr. Obama will designate San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma as the first five zones. The announcement will take place in the East Room and include representatives of each of the five zones, which will be eligible for federal tax breaks.

“Investing in and rebuilding hard-hit communities are important parts of the president’s plan to restore the basic bargain at the heart of the American story – that every child should have a fair chance at success,” the official said.

Mr. Obama, whose policies have had little success in alleviating poverty, first announced the initiative in last year’s State of the Union address but hasn’t designated the communities until now. The president envisions creating the zones in up to 20 communities nationwide.