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Economic Development

Opportunity Zones Will Create Jobs & Build Stronger Communities through Investment

President Donald J. Trump recently signed an executive order establishing the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council.  The newly established council, chaired by Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Ben Carson and comprised of 13 federal agencies, including the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), will engage with all levels of government on ways to better spur economic development and job creation through long-term investments in distressed communities across America.

“President Trump has been delivering on the promises he made to strengthen our nation’s economy and generate meaningful opportunities for communities to grow and thrive.  I see this firsthand when I visit small businesses from across the country who are taking advantage of the policies issued under this Administration and are investing and growing their businesses, as well as providing a needed boost to their own vibrant communities,” said SBA Administrator Linda McMahon.

“Nearly 35 million Americans live in communities designated as Opportunity Zones and this executive order signed by President Trump underscores our commitment to long-term investment that drives sustainable economic revitalization in our communities who need it the most,” McMahon added.

Created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Opportunity Zones tax benefit is designed to increase economic development and job creation by encouraging long-term investments in economically distressed communities nationwide as well as combat poverty and geographic inequality.

“This Presidential Action allows the newly-established Council to engage with all levels of government on ways to better use taxpayer dollars to revitalize low-income communities,” said SBA Regional Administrator Steve Bulger, who oversees all agency programs for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  “It will improve renewal efforts on Main Street, business and industrial districts in our region by helping to streamline, coordinate, and target existing federal programs to economically distressed areas, including Opportunity Zones.

“More importantly it eliminates the lack of coordination and targeting that has led to cumbersome applications, program waste, and ineffective benefits in the past,” added Bulger. “The newly created Council will have the full authority to present the president with a number of reports identifying and recommending ways to encourage investment in economically distressed communities.”

Nationwide, Opportunity Zones are anticipated to spur $100 billion in private capital investment.  The creation of new, good paying jobs as well as investor capital gains tax relief for their investments are two cornerstones of the initiative, adopted from a proposal by the Economic Innovation Group, a think tank started by Silicon Valley’s Sean Parker.

“No doubt this is an exciting time to be a small business in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Additional capital investment will stimulate job creation and will help low-income communities in our Region,” said Bulger.   “Americans of all backgrounds deserve good paying jobs; this Presidential Action delivers on that by putting federal funds towards infrastructure improvements, crime prevention and backing small business lending.  SBA stands ready to committing our resources and programs to moving the Opportunity Zone initiative forward.”

Bulger also noted that every location throughout Region II has at least one of the federal 8,761 Opportunity Zones.

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