On April 12, the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) hosted a webinar to provide an overview and analysis of the recently-introduced, bipartisan legislation that aims to strengthen the Opportunity Zones (OZ) policy. 

Key Takeaways

On April 7, 2022, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tim Scott (R-SC), Mark Warner (D-VA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Todd Young (R-IN) and Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI-03), Mike Kelly (R-PA-16), Terri Sewell (D-AL-07), Dan Kildee (D-MI-05) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02) introduced the Opportunity Zones Transparency, Extension, and Improvement Act, which includes measures to institute reporting and transparency, and ensure the policy can better support the recovery of low-income communities in the wake of the pandemic. 

EIG’s Director of Policy and Coalitions, Catherine Lyons, provided an overview of the provisions included in the legislation: 

  • Reporting requirements
  • Sunsetting of OZ with high median family income
  • Extension of the deadline for OZ benefits 
  • Allowance of fund-of-fund investment structures
  • Designation of formerly industrial zero population tracts
  • Creation of a federal fund for state and local community resources

Rachel Reilly of Aces & Archers then moderated a conversation with Opportunity Alabama’s Alex Flachsbart and Stephanie Copeland of Four Points Funding to discuss how these provisions may impact the OZ marketplace. Both Flachsbart and Copeland shared enthusiasm for the bill and noted that the legislation reflects key issues raised by a diverse array of OZ stakeholders, including a number of longstanding recommendations put forth by EIG’s OZ Coalition. 

  • Flachsbart and Copeland underscored the importance of the proposed $1 billion State and Community Dynamism Fund, which would provide the resources needed to build community capacity and advance locally-led OZ projects. 
  • The speakers also discussed the provision to sunset certain OZs and designate replacement tracts, and were in agreement that the designation process should be open, transparent, and informed by local leaders.  
  • Copeland posited that the reporting requirements outlined in the legislation would not overly burden managers of Qualified Opportunity Funds and welcomed the increased level of transparency that such mandates would garner. 

Adam Farris, Senior Policy Adviser on Tax and Trade for Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), then fielded questions from attendees. He provided an overview of the process by which Congress may consider the Opportunity Zones Transparency, Extension, and Improvement Act, and underscored that continued bipartisan support is critical to the success of the legislation. Farris shared that the year-end tax extenders bill provides a potential vehicle for enacting the legislation. 

Resources Discussed

Opportunity Zones Transparency, Extension, and Improvement Act

EIG’s Opportunity Zones Fact Sheets

Visit EIG’s OZ Resources webpage for additional information including deal profiles, mapped activity, and recordings of previous webinars. 

Opportunity Zones Community Development Public PolicySpatial Inequality

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