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Administration continues to prioritize Opportunity Zone investments

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The Trump Administration continues to incentivize investments in Opportunity Zones.

On Sept. 3, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced it will accept public comments on its Request for Information (RFI) on promoting economic development in qualified Opportunity Zones.

Enacted under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97), Opportunity Zones encourage private investment in new businesses, property development and infrastructure in distressed communities across the United States.

In June, the EDA designated Opportunity Zones as an official investment priority for the agency. The U.S. Treasury identified a total of 8,761 Opportunity Zones (OZs) across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Each area will retain that designation through 2028.

Many counties contain areas (see them here: https://www.cdfifund.gov/Pages/Opportunity-Zones.aspx) that are designated as OZs and are eligible for targeted investment. The complete list of designated OZs is available at Opportunity Zones Resources (https://www.cdfifund.gov/Pages/Opportunity-Zones.aspx.)

Last December, President Trump created by executive order, the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council led by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to focus 13 federal agencies on leveraging resources and support to local areas to revitalize distressed communities.

The U.S Treasury has also released two proposed regulations to be finalized soon, focused on investors and what type of investments qualify.

Investment in counties, particularly rural ones, was a primary goal of Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). 

To date, no regulations have been released related to data collection or the impact of OZs investments on communities.

In May, Senators Scott and Booker joined with Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) to introduce legislation that would require the Secretary of the Treasury to collect data on opportunity zone tax incentives.

Under the proposed legislation, S. 1344, the U.S. Treasury Department would be required to gather information on investments held by Qualified Opportunity Funds, or QOFs, which operate as investment vehicles for a partnership or corporation located within an opportunity zone.

Specific metrics would include the number of QOFs, assets held in QOFs and the impact of the opportunity zone designation on economic indicators such as job creation and poverty reduction.

The Treasury Department would also be required to collect information on the actual investments made in opportunity zones, including the total investment amount and type of activity supported by the investment.

Counties are encouraged to share local perspectives on how Opportunity Zones investments are impacting communities.

If your county has designated zones and is in the process of securing investments, have information, lessons learned or best practices to share, please contact Daria Daniel at ddaniel@naco.org.

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About Daria Daniel (Full Bio)

Associate Legislative Director – Community, Economic & Workforce Development

Daria Daniel is the Associate Legislative Director for Community, Economic and Workforce Development at NACo. Daria is responsible for all policy development and lobbying for the association in the areas of housing, community, economic and workforce development.