The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed late last year authorized the creation of the Opportunity Zones Program, designed to drive long-term capital into eligible low-income communities. The program provides tax benefits on investments in Opportunity Funds, which allow investors to pool and deploy their resources in low-income census tracts. A recent article in the New York Times notes that distressed communities lost 6 percent of their jobs and a similar share of their business establishments between 2011 and 2015, suggesting that Opportunity Zones have the potential to help neighborhoods and towns that are starved for investment. Under the program, governors in each state and U.S. territory will have the ability to identify up to 25 percent of their total low-income census tracts to be eligible to receive private investment over the next decade. The 90-day determination period for designating Opportunity Zones began in late December, meaning that governors have only until March 21 to identify these census tracts.
Find more information about the Opportunity Zones Program on the Enterprise website, including a policy brief that provides an early overview of the program and a national map that identifies which census tracts are eligible for Opportunity Zones designation. Enterprise will also be hosting a webinar on February 7 that will include an overview of the program and a demonstration of our mapping tools for Opportunity Zones designation.