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U.S. Department of Commerce Seeks Input and Recommendations from the Public to Help Spur Economic Development in Qualified Opportunity Zones and Other Distressed Areas Across the Country

Opportunity Zones were created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically-distressed communities nationwide.

While the Opportunity Zone tax incentive is a historic and powerful new tool meant to help bring private capital into underserved communities, economically distressed communities cannot rely on private capital and tax incentives alone to create the conditions for long-term sustainable economic growth. Many of these communities are also in need of public sector investment and technical assistance to ensure they develop the foundations and investment conditions necessary to support a thriving private sector. However, too often communities that attempt to access these catalytic Federal resources encounter a labyrinth of distinct rules and regulations, multiple application and review processes, and a myriad of burdensome and duplicative administrative requirements.

Therefore, through a Request for Information (RFI) notice published today in the Federal Register, the Department seeks public input on how the Federal Government can better align its various economic development programs and resources so as to encourage and facilitate beneficial investments in urban and economically distressed communities, including in qualified Opportunity Zones.

The Department of Commerce requests information from and the perspectives of stakeholders who support economic development in Opportunity Zones, including State, local and tribal officials, institutions of higher education, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations and other impact investors, economic development and other experts in relevant disciplines, and affected stakeholders in the private sector. We encourage your input!

Written comments on this RFI must be submitted by October 18, 2019.

EDA is encouraging our economic development partners to think of Opportunity Zone investment as a new arrow in their quiver to not only enhance ROI for business interests, but also to encourage the public/private partnerships needed to drive private investment to distressed areas. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage.

The Opportunity Zones Initiative

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