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Can Opportunity Zones Help Combat Poverty?

David Perdue, Senior U.S. Senator from Georgia, and Dr. Ben Carson, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) penned an opinion piece about government-fostered Opportunity Zones and what they mean for, what they say is approximately "one million more of our neighbors, friends, and family members [who] will have more access to affordable housing, a steady job, and an overall improved quality of life."

The opinion focused on Perdue's state, Georgia, which includes 260 Opportunity Zones, which, Perdue said, are "seeing that prosperity."

"Recently, we had the privilege of visiting the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE). Located in an Opportunity Zone, the Russell Center assists African American entrepreneurs by providing workspace, networking opportunities, and educational resources. In 2019, RCIE converted a 43,000 square foot corporate headquarters into space for 100 emerging entrepreneurial companies. RCIE’s work efforts are a testament to the work that the private sector can do without the weight of a heavy-handed government," the authors wrote.

They continue, "Opportunity Zones are a powerful vehicle for bringing economic growth and job creation to the American communities that need them most. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act established Opportunity Zones to incentivize long-term investments in low-income communities nationwide. These incentives offer capital gains tax relief for new investment in designated Opportunity Zones."

The authors noted that, last month, the Council of Economic Advisers released a report detailing results experienced in Opportunity Zones, which noted that "in two years Opportunity Zones have driven $75 billion in new investments to distressed American communities. These new investments will lift at least one million Americans out of poverty, decreasing the poverty rate in Opportunity Zones--which is nearly twice the national average--by 11%."

Furthermore, the authors noted, "incentivizing investment in low-income communities fosters economic revitalization, job creation, and promotes sustainable economic growth across the nation."

The full op-ed can be read in the Atlanta Business Chronicle here.

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media and Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning News, among others.
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