Published: Sat, April 21, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Estherville is Opportunity Zone finalist

Estherville is Opportunity Zone finalist

A host of Baton Rouge-area officials and groups showed interest in landing the designation for various census tracts, including East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, Congressman Cedric Richmond, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and the Research Park Corp.

Three areas of Sioux City will be eligible for a new economic development program after the state of Iowa on Friday designated them as "Opportunity Zones".

The incentives offer deferral, reduction, and potential elimination of some federal taxes for capital gains from investing in businesses, real estate, and other ventures in low-income communities.

Don Pierson, Louisiana Economic Development secretary, said the program is created to work best for urban areas close to industrial sites, existing redevelopment and with established infrastructure.

The zones are comprised of U.S. Census tracts where the poverty rate is 20 percent or greater and/or family income is less than 80 percent of the area's median income.

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The administration engaged municipal leaders and other key stakeholders in the communities with eligible tracts in the development of the state designation process, opening the application process on March 9.

The program was established a year ago as part of the tax cut program passed by Congress and backed by President Donald Trump.

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has selected Reading and West Reading as opportunity zones worthy of federal funding to encourage new business development.

The Opportunity Zone program provides a federal tax incentive for taxpayers who reinvest unrealized capital gains into "Opportunity Funds", which are specialized vehicles dedicated to investing in low-income areas called "Opportunity Zones". A seven-member committee reviewed and scored the 108 tract applications received by the IEDA based on the communities' past successes, unemployment rate, economic hardship and importantly, their vision for leveraging the program to make meaningful improvements. "I'm looking forward to seeing the Iowa Opportunity Zones experience investment and growth that might not otherwise occur in these deserving areas".

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