ColumnistsWilliam Reed

BUSINESS EXCHANGE: Opportunity Zones — Vital Tool or Tax Windfall For Rich?

In their passion to defy and defeat President Donald Trump, Black Americans have become so political over mainstream issues such as whether to sit Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court that we lose sight of what is happening where we live.

Urban community and political leaders should take note of the newest tool for steering investment into overlooked urban areas. We can use the energy of Black activists to realize Opportunity Zones, a new community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income communities.

The U.S. Opportunity Zone EXPO 2018 is happening Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the Washington Times Arbor Ballroom 3600 New York Avenue Northeast. While Black partisans ride their party’s anger on newscasts Opportunity Zones has the potential to become the nation’s largest economic development program. It’s the place to link with private and public sector people.

Supporters believe that this ultimately can become a vital tool for communities that haven’t benefited from the recent recovery. The Commerce and HUD Departments’ deputy assistant secretaries will be participating, White House Policy Tax Advisory Council, Harry Alford, chairman of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Investment Companies and National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women will be those cutting the pie.

This is a great opportunity for people to move the needle in terms of affordable housing, and create a national model for how to develop high-end condominiums, luxury apartments, high-rise hotels, towering office buildings and chic retail and restaurants are being built and delivered especially in northeast, southeast and southwest D.C. But that’s not all these neighborhoods have. They also have pockets of opportunity. These neighborhoods, specifically Wards 5, 6, 7 and 8, are under a federal program designed to bring investment and development into the region — and savvy investors and city officials are working together to spark economic discussions activity.

The Opportunity Zones tax incentive was included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act President Donald Trump signed into law in December. But the idea stems from a 2015 white paper from the Economic Innovation Group, a D.C.-based think tank that is now working closely with states to help implement the program. On April 20, Mayor Muriel Bowser nominated 25 census tracts to be Opportunity Zones.

The expo is is the place for people thinking about the future to be. The program is expected to cost the government $7.7 billion between 2018 and 2022, and $1.6 billion over 10 years. Concerned people need to get aboard this program, either alone or with a partner, now. The program gives a potentially large tax break to people who invest capital gains — profit they earn from the sale of assets — in distressed areas.

Only 14 percent of blacks own some stocks or mutual fund shares. They should build wealth through partnerships. Black business matters, and Black America needs more investment. Blacks should take this opportunity to attend this event to network and gain basic partnerships.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.

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William Reed

William Reed is President and Chief Executive Officer of Black Press International. He has been a Media Entrepreneur for over two decades. A well-trained marketing and communications professional, Reed has a national reputation for his expert writing, speaking, organizational, research, management and motivation abilities, along with strong managerial, presentation and sales skills.

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