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Government & Politics

Ohio Congressman Co-sponsors Bill to Reduce U.S. Food Deserts

map of Cuyahoga County food deserts
CUYAHOGA COUNTY BOARD OF HEALTH

Ohio congressman Tim Ryan is joining a bipartisan effort to address the problem of food deserts.

The Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act would set up a system of tax credits and grants for businesses providing healthy food options to low-income urban and rural areas.

Ryan says food deserts have a big impact on health, and that has a big impact on the economy.

"So I think that if we put a little more money up front for prevention, and then I think we will save a lot of money in the long run on the healthcare costs. But at the end of the day it’s about having businesses that can make a profit, and if we can use the tax code in order to do that and get our people healthy, that’s a win-win for the taxpayer and that’s a win-win for the families who can stay healthy and go to work."

To qualify, about a third of the store’s selections must include fresh produce, poultry, dairy and deli items. New stores will get a onetime 15 percent tax credit, while existing stores that improve their offerings will receive a onetime 10 percent tax credit.