A deep-diving article in Next City plumbs the potential promise and perils of Opportunity Zones. Regulation and oversight of the tax incentive program are crucial to allaying displacement and making sure investments benefit under-resourced communities. LISC CEO Maurice A. Jones weighs in on the new wave of investors eager to get involved, noting that insuring transparency is key, so communities and their allies "really know what people are using this tool for and how they’re using it."
That’s the message in a powerful op-ed by LISC San Diego director Ricardo Flores for the Union-Tribune. A proposed affordable housing bond could funnel badly needed capital into the creation of homes targeted for the state’s most vulnerable residents, which would ease the extreme housing shortage and stoke the economy at the same time.
An article in ImpactAlpha describes early efforts by community development groups, like LISC, and foundations to manage Opportunity Zone funds in a way that will maximize benefits for underinvested communities and the people who live and work there. These strategies deal head-on with the stated goal of the new tax legislation: to spur economic development in places where opportunities for residents are currently few and far between.
Maurice A. Jones testified before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress this week, urging its members to implement Opportunity Zones in ways that will truly benefit Americans in underinvested communities. The policy can spur billions in private investment in the country’s most distressed census tracts and play a major role in closing the opportunity gap, he said. But we need federal tax incentives and other strategies to help the program succeed.
In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Robert Rubin, former Secretary of the Treasury and chairman of LISC for 18 years, warns against the dire pitfalls of cutting anti-poverty programs. Government initiatives that help low-income people are not just social imperatives for the richest country on earth, but also work as "automatic stabilizers" for the economy and keep commerce strong.