The Legislature finds that:
(1) There exist in this state distressed areas where unemployment is higher than the state or national average, where poverty levels are higher than the state or national average, where the population is declining, where property is being abandoned, and where other forms of economic distress are occurring which adversely affect the general welfare of the people of this state;
(2) Such unemployment and other problems cause the distressed areas of the state to deteriorate and become substandard and blighted, making the areas economic or social liabilities which are harmful to the social and economic well-being of the state and the counties and communities in which they exist. Such distressed areas cause a needless increase in public expenditures, impose an onerous burden on the state and its political subdivisions, decrease the tax base, reduce tax revenue, substantially impair or arrest the sound growth of the state and its political subdivisions, depreciate general statewide and community-wide values, and contribute to the spread of disease and crime. This in turn necessitates excessive and disproportionate expenditures of public funds for the preservation of the public health and safety, for crime prevention, correction, prosecution, and punishment, for the treatment of juvenile delinquency, for the maintenance of adequate police, fire, and accident protection, and for other public services and facilities;
(3) From time to time, various communities in the state suffer extensive economic distress from the loss of a major employer in the area or from a major cut-back in employment by such an employer resulting in high local unemployment and threatening the economic balance of the community if not its continued existence; and
(4) Stimulation of economic development in the distressed areas is a matter of state policy, public interest, and concern and is within the power and authority inherent in and reserved to the state. Economic development is needed to insure that the state will not continue to be endangered by areas which consume an excessive proportion of revenue and that the economic base of the state may be broadened and stabilized by providing jobs and increasing the tax base.