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Tax Facts Tuesday: Helping Vulnerable Communities Prosper

May 08, 2018

Included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a provision that creates “Opportunity Zones.” Under the new tax code, there now is a specifically targeted incentive for private investors to make long-term investments in communities that face economic hardships.

Here’s the news:

As the New York Times reported:

“The provision is the first new substantial federal attempt to aid those communities in more than a decade. … If the zones succeed, they could help revitalize neighborhoods and towns that are starved for investment.”

Why it matters:

Opportunity Zones are just one part of the larger tax reform package that helps hardworking families achieve their version of the American Dream.

What it means for your family: 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act empowers individuals and families with a doubled Child Tax Credit, nearly doubled standard deduction, and other policies that help taxpayers save for their retirement or their children’s education. Opportunity Zones also empower families by strengthening communities nationwide.

Already, states and communities from coast to coast have expressed optimism about how Opportunity Zones will unleash economic potential in areas that currently are distressed. 


Gov. Kay Ivey (R) submitted 158 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“I appreciate the quick work of the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS to approve Alabama’s nominated Opportunity Zones. Now we can take full advantage of this valuable tool provided through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to attract additional industry and jobs to our great state. We selected each Opportunity Zone with care, and with an eye toward making a positive difference with the greatest possible impact.”


Gov. Doug Ducey (R) submitted 168 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“We applaud this federal initiative to stimulate economic development in low-income areas. Ensuring opportunity for all Arizonans has been a focus of my administration. Arizona’s economy is thriving, and we are excited to see how Opportunity Zones will build on our effort.”


Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) submitted 85 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“I’m excited about the potential investment that will be encouraged in low-economic areas of our state. One of my goals as governor from day one has been to increase economic opportunities for all Arkansans. By investing in these high-potential areas, we will be able to breathe new life into communities and ensure our state remains economically diverse and healthy.”


Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) submitted 126 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“Colorado’s Opportunity Zones can help create momentum in communities that need a little boost in their economic recovery efforts. We owe it to these areas of the state to take advantage of every potential incentive. Hopefully we will see significant dividends in the future.”


Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) submitted 72 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“These opportunity zone nominations we have made will go a long way in encouraging new investment and development in areas that will be critical to Connecticut’s future.”


 Gov. John Carney (D) submitted 25 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“Strengthening neighborhoods and communities across Delaware helps improve our economy, stabilize families, and make our state an even better place to live, work and visit. These Opportunity Zone designations will help build on our ongoing community development efforts, and encourage additional private investment where it can have the most impact – in economically-distressed communities. We look forward to working with private sector partners, and with local leaders across our state, on this important initiative.”


Gov. Rick Scott (R) submitted 427 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“These Zones will make a real and lasting difference in some of our highest-need areas by helping to bring new capital investment and more jobs to every county across the state. They will also bring additional investment to rural communities and urban areas, ensuring that every Floridian has the chance to live the American Dream in the Sunshine State.”


Gov. Nathan Deal (R) submitted 260 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“In Georgia, we have seen firsthand the value of adhering to conservative principles and creating a business-friendly environment to promote economic development. By attracting more private investment to underserved areas, the tax incentives for Qualified Opportunity Zones will further encourage businesses to invest in the communities that need it most, while also creating meaningful employment opportunities across the state. The areas we nominated for this distinction include both rural and urban communities that experienced a slower economic recovery in the last few years, and these tax incentives represent another step forward in their economic revitalization. We look forward to working with the Department of the Treasury, the IRS and the private sector to take full advantage of this program and boost economic growth for Georgia’s economically disadvantaged areas.”


Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) submitted 156 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“This new program provides one more tool to attract investment and help more of our Hoosier communities succeed.”


Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) submitted 62 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“I’m looking forward to seeing the Iowa Opportunity Zones experience investment and growth that might not otherwise occur in these deserving areas.”


Gov. Matt Bevin (R) submitted 144 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“The Opportunity Zones approved today by the U.S. Department of the Treasury provide one more reason for companies and businesses to consider locating in Kentucky. Kentucky will maximize this golden chance to attract economic development projects to communities most in need across the commonwealth, and the Kentucky Opportunity Zone Initiative will strengthen and rebuild both rural and urban areas. Whether along the Mississippi River in West Kentucky, throughout West Louisville’s neighborhoods, or in the heart of Appalachia, these zones will spur investment, growth and community development.”


Gov. Rick Synder (R) submitted 288 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“These zones have the potential to help Michiganders take advantage of the full economic development potential in all corners of the state. This is a unique opportunity for investors and promising news for eligible communities.”


Gov. Mark Dayton (D) submitted 128 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“Expanding access to good jobs and better opportunities has been a top priority for my Administration. These efforts have been especially important in communities that are experiencing continuing economic disparities. The Opportunity Zones program provides Minnesota a great opportunity to work with local community leaders and our federal partners to build upon that important work and improve people’s lives.”


Gov. Eric Greitens (R) submitted 161 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“We’ve already seen jobs coming back to Missouri as a result of strong conservative reforms. Now I’m proud to share that, because of tax reform, we have a new tool to bring businesses back to the areas that need it most. The communities that need quality jobs—areas with a lot of poverty and not a lot of opportunity–will get a leg up as they compete for jobs. I’m grateful to everyone who worked on this issue, and proud to announce these opportunity zones today.”


Gov. Steve Bullock (D) submitted 25 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“We asked cities, towns, counties, tribes, and economic development organizations to nominate areas that are most likely to realize development which benefits communities. I’m confident that the final zones I’ve nominated to the U.S. Treasury Department represent both high-needs communities and areas that are ripe for investment in rural and urban corners of our state.”


Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) submitted 20 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, 20 communities across Nebraska now have another tool to help attract new investment and job opportunities. This announcement builds on the positive news we’ve seen from companies from Nelnet to Wal-Mart, who are reinvesting their tax cuts into their workforce through higher wages and bonuses.  None of this would have been possible without the great work of Nebraska’s federal delegation, which unanimously supported the tax relief bill.”


Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) submitted 61 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“During my time as Governor, we have invested significant resources in Nevada. While we have seen substantial returns, there are still parts of our state that need additional assistance. It is my hope that by nominating these 61 low-income opportunity zones, private investors will choose to fund projects in these areas that benefit the Nevadans who need it most. What’s more, we believe that communities surrounding the 61 opportunity zones will also benefit from investment in the zones.”

New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) submitted 169 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“These cities and towns will have additional means to generate economic growth throughout their respective communities and, more importantly, create economic opportunities for their residents.”

North Dakota

Gov. Doug Burgum (R) submitted 25 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“We’re deeply grateful for all who applied and showed interest in establishing these Opportunity Zones, which will help communities and rural areas achieve their full potential and create healthy, vibrant communities to attract and retain a 21st century workforce. The Opportunity Zone program offers attractive federal tax relief incentives that will stimulate much-needed private capital investment to help revitalize our low-income areas in North Dakota.”   


Gov. Mary Fallin (R) submitted 117 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“The creation of federal opportunity zones will bring new and unique opportunities to both investors and Oklahoma communities. Investors have different projects in which they are willing to invest their capital, and it is our intent to provide them with a range of opportunities. With the potential investments in these areas, we hope that poverty will be reduced, our communities will see revitalization, and that the investments will spur job creation.”


Gov. Tom Wolf (D) submitted 300 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“We are hopeful this new incentive will bring much-needed investment to many distressed areas across the commonwealth.”

South Carolina

Gov. Henry McMaster (R) submitted 135 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“We’re confident that we’ve been able to implement a collaborative approach to designating these communities – with input from local governments across the state – that will eventually mean further private investment and economic growth in the areas that need it most.”


Gov. Greg Abbott (R) submitted 628 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“This program will help highlight areas of Texas that are prime for business investment, and it will serve to bring more opportunities to hardworking families across the entire state. As we continue to recover after Harvey, these Opportunity Zone designations will also provide a much needed boost for local communities impacted by the storm. With the potential for billions in new investment, I look forward to our state continuing to flourish, bringing further growth and opportunity to the people of Texas.”


Gov. Ralph Northam (D) submitted 212 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“Opportunity zones are an important federal tool to spur vitality in economic growth in communities across Virginia and we are committed to using them fully in this administration. By focusing on local and regional strategies, as well as Virginia’s diverse geography and economic opportunities, we selected a balance of zones that align with other state and local economic development and revitalization efforts.”


Gov. Scott Walker (R) submitted 120 nominations for Opportunity Zones, saying:

“With our newly designated Economic Opportunity Zones, Wisconsin’s thriving businesses will have a new opportunity to invest in their neighbors and help our local communities. Right now, more people are employed in our state than ever before in our history, and Wisconsin is at near record lows for unemployment. These recommendations reach communities across our state – urban, rural, and tribal – that are positioned for strong and sustained growth.”

CLICK HERE to learn more about how tax reform helps families nationwide.