Opportunity Zones

Adopted at the 88th Annual Meeting in 2020

  • WHEREAS, COVID-19 and the economic downturn has caused widespread unemployment and business closures, exposed structural disparities in communities across the country, and rapidly depleted the coffers of state and local governments; and

    WHEREAS, as Congress shifts its focus from crisis response to economic recovery, it must account for lessons learned from the last economic recovery a decade ago, namely an uneven recovery that bypassed the most distressed communities; and

    WHEREAS, as one response to growing geographic inequality, Congress created Opportunity Zones, a new tool to incentivize private capital into low-income, high-poverty, and investment-deprived neighborhoods; and

    WHEREAS, Opportunity Zones has fostered greater interaction between mayors, economic development professionals, community stakeholders, and investors with unique insights into the distinctive needs of disadvantaged communities; and

    WHEREAS, the Opportunity Zones incentive has been used to support community growth-oriented projects and to encourage entrepreneurship, improve quality of life, and create economic opportunities for local families; and

    WHEREAS, Mayors play a leading role in defining local priorities and attracting private investment to projects that will strengthen the communities they represent; and

    WHEREAS, cities and communities must take a long-term view to attract community-driven investment in Opportunity Zones by updating local permitting and zoning, aligning federal and non-federal incentives, and organizing dedicated partners supported by local leadership; and

    WHEREAS, the United States Conference of Mayors has worked with Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC) to inform the regulatory process, and educate communities around the country about the potential of Opportunity Zones; and

    WHEREAS, the Opportunity Zones statute does not require the Federal government to collect data and report on investments in Opportunity Zones; and

    WHEREAS, improvements to the Opportunity Zones policy - such as increased reporting requirements pertaining to the activities of Qualified Opportunity Funds, an extension of the benefit deadline, and federal support to build local capacity and technical assistance - are critical to the success and durability of the tax incentive,

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors call on both the Senate and House of Representatives, to 1) improve upon the Opportunity Zones statute by strengthening reporting requirements for the U.S. Treasury Department to collect data on the number of opportunity funds created and the impact the funds are having on underserved communities; 2) extend the timeframe for investments in Opportunity Zones to encourage greater market participation during this period of deep economic need and uncertainty; and, 3) support mayors with local technical assistance and capacity building to help enable more communities to attract high impact investments and economic activity; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges Congress support community recovery efforts by enacting these reforms and improvements to Opportunity Zones as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors looks forward to working with private sector investors, the philanthropic community and community-based organizations to utilize this new tool to attract new investments in low-income communities designated as Opportunity Zones in cities nationwide.

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