In December 2017, Section 13823 of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was amended to allow the Governor or Chief Executive Officer of each state to nominate a limited number of census tracts to be designated as Opportunity Zones (OZ). OZ are defined as economically-distressed communities where “new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.” OZ serve as an economic development tool designed to stimulate economic development and create jobs in distressed communities by providing tax relief and benefits to those who invest in designated areas. The program is anticipated to spur $100 billion in private capital investment in designated OZ. Read more about the Opportunity Zones program.
- To date, 8,764 communities in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and five territories have been designated as OZ
- Nearly 35 million Americans live in communities designated as OZ
- Click here to find qualified opportunity zones in your state
White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council (WHORC)
Established by Executive Order in December 2018, the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council’s (WHORC) Federal member agencies, including DRA, engage with governments at all levels on ways to more effectively use taxpayer dollars to revitalize low-income communities. Additionally, the Council seeks to improve revitalization efforts by streamlining, coordinating, and targeting existing Federal programs to Opportunity Zones – economically distressed communities where new investments may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.
To date, WHORC members have identified over one-hundred and sixty Federal programs where targeting, preference, or additional support could be granted to Opportunity Zones, fifty of which have already begun working on this initiative. DRA is committed investing in rural communities and supporting WHORC in successfully implementing the OZ program. In March, DRA updated the States’ Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP) funding cycle for Fiscal Year 2019 to include an updated provision to SEDAP guidelines to support OZ in the Delta region. Eligible organizations located in the DRA footprint can utilize SEDAP funding (up to 10% of each state’s funding allocation) to support activities such as the development of an investment prospectus or a GIS database to better market their communities and potential projects to interested investors
Opportunity Zones in the DRA Region