On Wednesday, February 26, mayors from across the country joined the Council on Metro Economies and the New American City to discuss Opportunity Zone Funds, and how cities can leverage Opportunity Zone Funds to develop new city projects. Speakers included William Lambe of Enterprise Community Investment Inc., Noelle St. Clair of Woodforest National Bank, and Jonathan Tower of Arctaris.
Click here to listen to the full Opportunity Zone Fund Call
Click here for speaker contacts from the Opportunity Zone Fund Call
Click here for background on the Woodforest National Bank’s Opportunity Zone Fund
Section 13823 of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 establishes a new section of the Internal Revenue Code (1400Z1), which sets forth a process for the designation of Opportunity Zones and the establishment of tax incentives for investors in Opportunity Funds. The provision is designed to spur investment in low-income communities. The language included in the tax bill was originally sponsored in earlier legislation by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representatives Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Ron Kind (D-WI)
Over 8,700 Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs) have been certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury after being nominated by their state’s Governors. According to EIG three quarters of certified QOZs lie within metro areas. High density urban zones comprise 39.8% of total zones; low density rural areas comprise 38.2% and medium density suburban zones equal 22.2%. 69% of the population of QOZs live in census tracts that are severely distressed. The average poverty rate of QOZs is 31%, significantly higher than the 20% eligibility threshold.
Click here to see EIG’s analysis of Q0Zs.
See “Opportunity Zones Mapping Tools” in the resources section below for a listing of designated Opportunity Zones.
Now that Opportunity Zones have been designated, Mayors have several opportunities to lead by:
1. Identifying viable existing or new projects and investment opportunities to market to qualified Opportunity Funds.
2. Convening community and business leaders to develop strategic plans for zones that couple public project priorities with the private investment projects to streamline and coordinate market growth in low-income areas.
3. Creating their own opportunity funds in partnership with existing national or local financial institutions.