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HUD Secretary to Lead Opportunity and Revitalization Council

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was named the chairperson of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council that was established through an Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

The council, which will consist of 13 federal member agencies will engage with governments at all levels on ways to more effectively use taxpayer dollars to revitalize low-income communities.

"With the creation of today’s council, the resources of the whole federal government will be leveraged to rebuild low-income and impoverished neighborhoods that have been ignored by Washington in years past," President Trump said while signing the Executive Order to create this council. "Our goal is to ensure that America’s great new prosperity is broadly shared by all of our citizens."

“These are still early days for the work of the Council and Opportunity Zones, but the groundwork has been laid,” Secretary Carson said. “The seeds the President has planted are growing and the promise they hold will improve places long forgotten, and the lives of those who call those places home.”

In a statement, HUD said that the council would aim at improving the revitalization efforts in these communities by streamlining, coordinating, and targeting existing Federal programs to Opportunity Zones and in economically distressed communities where new investments may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.

It will also consider legislative proposals and undertake regulatory reform to remove barriers to revitalization efforts while presenting the President with options to encourage capital investment in economically distressed communities.

"Under our new tax cuts, any distressed area that is designated as an Opportunity Zone will receive massive incentives for private sector investment, including zero capital gains tax on any investment held for at least 10 years," President Trump said.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act had created Opportunity Zones to stimulate long-term investments in low-income communities. The program offers capital gains relief to those who invest in these distressed areas and is anticipated to spur $100 billion in private capital investment in Opportunity Zones.

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and copy-editor, and a reporter for DS News. She is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her masters degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha, also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.

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