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LISC CEO & Rep. Fred Upton on the Potent Promise of Opportunity Zones

Maurice A. Jones and Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) co-authored a blog for The Hill, making a strong case for how Opportunity Zones can attract unprecedented capital to underinvested places—if the necessary oversight and guiderails are in place. Under the right circumstances, OZs could channel some $6 trillion into American communities, leveraging local talent, assets and inclusive development already underway.

The excerpt below is from:
A game-changing tax program can spur economic opportunity for all

For the past 30 years, federal tax policy has yielded a range of powerful incentives to attract private capital to projects that spark economic opportunity for millions of people--creating quality housing and growing businesses and jobs all across the country.

But many communities, especially in small cities and rural areas, have fallen through the cracks. Even in places where the regional economy is flourishing, there often isn’t enough capital to propel the kind of growth that benefits all Americans, regardless of where they live.

o this summer, when the Treasury Department certified 8,700 census tracts as Opportunity Zones, it presented us with a game changer, part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs ActOpportunity Zones offer investors the chance to defer or reduce their capital gains tax when they invest in housing and economic development in under-resourced communities.

Think of what that means: trillions of dollars of capital unlocked for investment where demand is high and talent is readily available (and that includes neighborhoods throughout the state of Michigan--from Detroit and St. Joseph to Lansing and Marquette). A deep pool of untapped American wealth can now find its way to projects that will help keep our economy competitive across the board.

With Opportunity Zones, Democrats and Republicans have also found an exciting tranche of common ground. Whatever other policy differences we might have, people across the ideological spectrum can agree on this: leveraging modest federal investments to drive private capital into communities that have been sidelined as our national economy booms is a win-win proposition.

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