Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Expanding Opportunity Opportunity Zones Will Be Coming to a Community near You

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Expanding Opportunity Opportunity Zones Will Be Coming to a Community near You

Article excerpt

When the House and Senate passed our landmark tax-reform package last year, it was done with everyday American families in mind. The typical middle-income family of four will save more than $2,000 on their taxes next year, and by doubling the child tax credit and standard deduction, we are giving families more flexibility with their hard-earned dollars.

More than 1.7 million jobs have been created since the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and more than four million Americans have received new bonuses or wage and benefit increases. The nationwide unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 1969.

Here in Western Pennsylvania, the economic resurgence has been felt in every county, where joblessness has been driven down to historic lows and manufacturing confidence, until recently on a sharp decline, has risen to record highs.

Even with these successes, there are still communities facing economic challenges. There are hardworking families struggling to secure a brighter future for themselves and their children.

With that in mind, we are excited to showcase a lesser-known feature of the tax-reform law known as Opportunity Zones, a plan tailor-made for the nation's most overlooked towns and neighborhoods. The New York Times rightly called this provision "the first new substantial federal attempt to aid those communities in more than a decade."

How do Opportunity Zones work?

In exchange for a deferral on capital-gains taxes, investors can support a wide variety of activities in the zones for five to 10 years. This means the potential for new dollars coming in for rural broadband, charter schools, small businesses and entrepreneurs, or a number of other community-building investments.

This is a win-win for communities and investors. And it is powered from the ground up. The zones were not decided by Washington bureaucrats, but rather local communities, mayors and governors - the people who know best what our communities need and where these investments can make a huge difference. …

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